Konta crashes out of Roland Garros first round


Johanna Konta suffered a shock defeat by world number 109 Hsieh Su-wei in the first round of the Roland Garros French Open.

Seventh seed Konta dominated the first set but eventually went down 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 to Taiwanese Hsieh.

Konta, 26, has yet to win a match in the main draw at Roland Garros after three successive first-round losses.

She will now head back to the UK and hope for more success in the grass-court season.

Konta, who is ranked eighth in the world, has also lost twice in qualifying in her five visits to Roland Garros.

Her day was summed up by the final game, in which she missed four chances to break back and stay in the match, one through some Hsieh brilliance and another thanks to the cruellest of net cords.

The Taiwanese player clinched a remarkable win when Konta’s return found the net after two hours and 15 minutes.

Her exit means there are no British women left in the singles draw at Roland Garros, while Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund play in the men’s draw later on Tuesday.

Konta’s record on clay might be modest at best – just four wins at WTA main draw level in her career – but she is now established in the world’s top 10 and among the title contenders when the Grand Slams come around.

Roland Garros remains the least likely venue for Konta to make that breakthrough, but defeat by such a lowly ranked player with an enticing-looking draw will be a huge disappointment.

She dominated the early exchanges, winning 11 of the first 12 points, and was rock solid on serve for the first set and a half.

A comfortable victory looked likely but Hsieh finally began to land some first serves and started to move Konta out wide with her unorthodox forehand slice.

Both players had ample chances in the second set, Hsieh missing four break points in game seven – the second with a woeful smash into the net – before Konta failed to capitalise from 0-40.

The Briton began the tie-break well but missed a makeable smash at 2-2, and Hsieh took control, scrambling superbly to wrest control of the rallies.

Konta now faced a real test, the early certainty on her groundstrokes long gone and Hsieh now making far more returns.

Having made it through two sets without dropping serve, Konta was broken twice in succession in the third, and the unflappable attitude that has marked her recent rise began to fray at the edges.

There were shakes of the head and pleading looks towards Belgian coach Wim Fissette as she continued to make errors.

A dramatic final game saw more chances come and go but it was a 38th error of what became a ragged display that finally ended Konta’s clay-court season for another year.

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