WTA Sydney: Johanna Konta comfortably defeats Arina Rodionova

WTA Sydney: Johanna Konta comfortably defeats Arina Rodionova

The Brit was never troubled in her opening effort in Sydney, breezing past the Aussie qualifier.

John Lupo

Johanna Konta opened her account at the Apia International Sydney with a straightforward 6-3, 6-4 win over Aussie qualifier Arina Rodionova.

Konta takes first set

The Brit was in a battle to hold right from the off as she fell behind 15-30, but she came back to hold behind some powerful first serves. Also mixing in some effective net play, she led 2-1. After an exchange of holds found last year's Australian Open semifinalist ahead 3-2, she made her move.

After falling behind 40-15 on the Rodionova serve, Konta rallied after three deuces, she finally earned a break point, which she converted for a 4-2 lead. Eventually, she had a chance to serve out the set with a 5-3 advantage, but she again struggled on serve, Rodionova with a break point at 30-40. After that was saved, the 184th-ranked qualifier again had a break opportunity, but again Konta saved it and would close out the set two points later.

Konta claims second set and match after late stumble

Despite coming close in the first set, Rodionova was unable to get over the hump and she got off to the worst possible start in the second set, broken to 15. After a solid hold, Konta was back on the offensive, ahead 0-30 and threatening to make this set a blowout.

After battling to try and save her skin, the Aussie was again broken and Konta seemed to be in first gear, but she was broken for the first time in the match, a double fault helping to contribute to Rodionova getting on the board.

Her lead was 5-1 after Rodionova threw in some double faults of her own to help lead to her impending demise. To her credit, the qualifier rallied and closed the gap to 5-4, but Konta, despite serving eight double faults, duly shut the door in the next game, advancing to the second round and a matchup with another Aussie, Daria Gavrilova.