Konta shrugs off heart scare with dev­as­tat­ing show of power to sub­due Flip­kens

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By Si­mon Briggs tennis cor­re­spon­dent

Hav­ing suf­fered heart pal­pi­ta­tions on her re­turn to the of­fi­cial match court a fort­night ago, Jo­hanna Konta was in con­trast­ingly serene mood yes­ter­day as she swept aside Bel­gium’s Kirsten Flip­kens in barely an hour.

Once the first four games had been shared, Konta reeled off a slew of bruis­ing fore­hand win­ners that made Flip­kens – a veteran of the tour at 34 – look slow and un­der­pow­ered.

Konta did not drop an­other game in her 6-2, 6-0 vic­tory, which sends her through to face the for­mer Wim­ble­don fi­nal­ist Vera Zvonareva in the third round of the Western and South­ern Open.

Af­ter­wards, Konta said that she had not been fret­ting too much about the ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat that has sur­faced twice in the past 2½ months. She explained that her team were think­ing about ways to mon­i­tor her heart – some ath­letes have dealt with this awk­ward sit­u­a­tion by hav­ing mi­nus­cule elec­tri­cal mea­sur­ing de­vices im­planted un­der the skin – be­fore adding that “it prob­a­bly won’t hap­pen again, knock on wood, for a long time”.

Konta also had a pos­i­tive re­port to of­fer on the long-term ten­don prob­lems in her knee. This nig­gling in­jury cur­tailed her 2019 sea­son af­ter the US Open, and had also seemed to in­hibit her dur­ing the first three months of this year.

“These sorts of ten­don issues, they can take years of man­age­ment and strength­en­ing,” Konta said. “But credit to my fit­ness trainer Gill [My­burgh], I think we have re­ally turned a cor­ner in the past two months. Right now I have ac­tu­ally had some pain-free days, which is re­ally amaz­ing. Even today it was re­ally good on court, so it’s def­i­nitely go­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

While Konta – the eighth seed – forged on, Dan Evans, the other Bri­tish No 1, left the tour­na­ment af­ter be­ing bru­talised by the mighty Mi­los Raonic serve. Evans saw 23 aces flash past dur­ing his 6-3, 7-5 de­feat.

Mean­while, tour­na­ment favourite Ser­ena Wil­liams, seeded third, found her­self in a lengthy and lung­burn­ing en­counter with Aran­txa Rus, the Dutch­woman whom she had beaten com­fort­ably in their last meet­ing at Wim­ble­don in 2018.

Wil­liams was slug­gish, al­low­ing Rus to serve for the win at 6-5 in the third set, but the un­der­dog never quite man­aged to bring up a match point and, once Wil­liams had bro­ken back, she dom­i­nated the de­cid­ing tie-break by a 7-0 score­line.

“I was be­ing ag­gres­sive, but she just kept fight­ing,” Wil­liams said af­ter her 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 vic­tory.

Andy Mur­ray was taken to three sets in his match with Alexan­der Zverev be­fore win­ning 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Bruis­ing win­ners: Jo­hanna Konta did not drop a game af­ter shar­ing the first four

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