Johanna Konta defeats Magdalena Rybarikova in Italian Open first round

Johanna Konta defeated Magdalena Rybarikova for the second week running to make a successful start to her Italian Open campaign in Rome.

The British No 1 defeated her fellow Wimbledon semi-finalist 6-4 6-3 at the Foro Italico to book a second-round tie with either Hsieh Su-wei or Aryna Sabalenka, after her initial first-round opponent Petra Kvitova pulled out following her Madrid Open triumph at the weekend.

Konta, world No 22, suffered a disappointing second-round defeat last week, losing to world No 97 qualifier Bernarda Pera but will now hope to improve on her third-round exit last year, at the hands of Venus Williams, in the Italian capital.

Konta’s fall in world rankings

Johanna Konta moved to world No 4 last July but suffered a dismal second half of last season and has struggled to return to form this year.

The British No 1 has won eight and lost the other eight of her 16 singles matches this season.

The 26-year-old Briton missed 10 break points in her opening three return games but, after being broken in the seventh game of the first set, won 12 of the last 13 points to close out the opening set in strong fashion.

Konta broke Rybarikova in the Slovakian’s opening service game of the second set but recovered from losing three games on the bounce to regain her composure and the lead before securing the hard-fought victory in one hour and 50 minutes.

The Masters 1000 Series continues with our coverage of the ATP Italian Open on Sky Sports Arena throughout the week.

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