Konta defeats qualifier Pera to avenge Melbourne shock

(Reuters) – Johanna Konta powered past qualifier Bernarda Pera 7-6(5) 6-1 in the first round of the Qatar Open on Tuesday to avenge her shock defeat by the American in the Australian Open last month.

Briton Konta was broken in the 11th game of the first set but dragged the contest into a tiebreak, which she edged. She then switched gears in the second set to seal the victory in an hour and 28 minutes.

“I’m very happy to have come through that,” Konta, who lost in straight sets to Pera in the second round at Melbourne, said.

“I knew going into the match that it was going to be tough…

“Even if I wasn’t going to get through the match with a win, I still wanted to make sure that I did more and just did a little bit better than last time.”

Twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova also advanced to the second round with a clinical 6-0 6-3 victory over wildcard Cagla Buyukakcay. She next faces Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska.

Fourth seed Garbine Muguruza, playing her first event since an early exit at the Australian Open, beat China’s Duan Yingying 6-3 6-4 in 87 minutes to progress to the round of 16.

“It was a very tough match,” Muguruza, who needed eight match points to see off her opponent, said.

“It doesn’t matter how many match points I had, but I won. That’s the important part, and I’m so happy because it’s been so long since I’ve competed. It’s good to have a victory.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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