China Open: Konta knocks out in first round


Britain’s Johanna Konta lost her fifth straight match as she went down 6-1 6-2 to world number 65 Monica Niculescu at the China Open in Beijing.

The 26-year-old, who is ranked 58 places higher than her Romanian opponent, succumbed in just 64 minutes.

Konta has endured a miserable run since making the Wimbledon semi-finals, winning only twice across six events.

She is currently in the eighth and final qualification spot for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore.

Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki have already secured their places, with French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko a place ahead of Konta.

If Konta does make the season finale, she will need a drastic improvement to make any impression against the elite of the women’s game.

She lost her serve to love at the first two times of asking in the opening set, before Niculescu held to love for a 5-0 lead.

Two more breaks followed in the second set as Konta ended with 38 unforced errors across 15 games.


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