Johanna Konta survives testing clash - and three rain breaks - to make round three in Miami

Simon Briggs
Johanna Konta in action in Miami - FR596 AP

There were eight Britons on the various entry lists for the Miami Open. But when Andy Murray pulled out with a damaged elbow, he set off a chain of disappointment: two first-round defeats in qualifying and four more in the main draw.

By Tuesday night, 10th seed Johanna Konta - who received a first-round bye - was our only representative still standing. So it is a relief to report that Konta scrapped her way through to the third round in the most agonising fashion. Her 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 victory featured 2hrs 39mins spent on court, including a late medical time-out for her opponent Aliaksandra Sasnovich. And that was before you figured in the three rain breaks.

This was never going to be a pretty match to watch, thanks to the ferocious wind swirling around Crandon Park and making the ball dance unpredictably in the air. Certainty was a hard quality to find, and the first set swung on a donated game from Sasnovic – the world No 120 - that featured two double-faults and a couple more wild errors.

Johanna Konta is protected from the rain Credit: REX FEATURES

That gave Konta a 4-2 lead, which she extended with three more straight games. But despite taking an identical advantage in the second set, she had a hard time closing out the win against Sasnovich’s determined retrieval skills. One headlong scramble left Konta bleeding from a grazed knee, sustained while tumbling in pursuit of a lost cause. 

Konta thought she had brought up a match point at 5-4, only for a Hawk-Eye over-rule to reveal that Sasnovich’s forehand had caught the outside of the line. Then the players found themselves in a tie-break – itself broken by a shower – that Sasnovich edged via a lower error count.

The third set, inevitably, was another tight one, but Konta led 4-2 yet again and managed to hang on this time. The difference lay in the serves: six aces and no double-faults for Konta, zero aces and 12 double-faults for Sasnovich. At least the British tally in Miami now stands at one win to place against the six defeats.

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