Johanna Konta does not like to play on clay.
On Tuesday the No. 7-seeded Brit made her second consecutive first-round exit at Roland Garros, falling 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 to Hsieh Su-wei, a Taiwanese 31-year-old doubles specialist ranked outside the Top 100.
“I know results-wise it doesn’t reflect it necessarily but the conversations I have with my coach and the way I feel, I’ve actually made a lot of improvements on this surface with every match I played,” said Konta, trying to stay upbeat.
“All I can promise whenever I go out on court is that I will always do my best. Whether that comes away with a win or a loss, I don’t know. That depends a lot on the day, a lot on the level I can produce, and also what my opponent can produce on the day.”
Onto the grasscourt season for the Brit.
Top 10-seeded winners Tuesday were No. 3 Simona Halep having a routine time with Slovak Jana Cepelova 6-2, 6-3; No. 5 Elina Svitolina handling Yaroslava Shvedova 6-4, 6-3; and No. 9 Agnieszka Radwanska rolling over France’s Fiona Ferro 6-1, 6-1.
“Maybe I was a little bit tight,” said Halep, who has been fighting ankle, leg, mental, etc. issues. “It’s like many things happened today, first round, French Open, the leg, I didn’t know how it was gonna be. A little bit nervous because I changed court, so it’s not easy…I was strong on my legs. And I think I did a great game. It is not easy against her, because I lost at Wimbledon.”
The fast-rising 22-year-old Svitolina says she likes to keep it simple and, amazingly, ignore strategy and who is on the other side of the net.
“I try to not have anything on my mind,” she said. “Just go out there and do what I do the best, play my game, be really focused and keep it simple…For me the most important thing is to play my game, and then it doesn’t really matter who is on the other side.”
Lower-seeded winners Tuesday were No. 12 Madison Keys, No. 17 Anastasija Sevastova, No. No. 20 Barbora Strycova, No. 26 Daria Kasatkina, No. 21 Carla Suarez Navarro, and No. 28 Caroline Garcia, all straight-set winners.
The No. 17 seed Sevastova will next meet unseeded floater Genie Bouchard.
“I think she’s a tricky player, slice, mixing up, slow balls,” Bouchard said. “An all-around player, I guess. I just have to be ready for everything. Play my aggressive game but also have patience.”
Matches to look for on Wednesday at Roland Garros are (13) Kristina Mladenovic vs. former finalist (Q) Sara Errani, (15) Petra Kvitova vs. (Q) Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and (8) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. France’s Oceane Dodin.
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