Australian Open: Missing shopping is Johanna Konta's biggest concern

Johanna Konta eased into the second round of the Australian Open but fellow Brit Heather Watson was unable to join her.

Easy win: Britain's Johanna Konta celebrates.

Ninth seed Konta has a fine record at Melbourne Park having reached the semi-finals and quarter-finals the last two years and is one of a whole raft of contenders for the women’s title.

She was far too good for 90th-ranked American Madison Brengle, hitting 37 winners and eight aces in a 66-minute 6-3 6-1 victory.

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Watson, though, lost 7-5 7-6 (8/6) to Yulia Putintseva.

Konta’s concern was her shopping failure, when she went out to buy blueberries only to leave them behind.

“Oh, my goodness, I don’t want to talk about it,” she said. “Honestly. I messaged everybody. Literally everybody on my team. Has this happened to anyone else?

“I went to the supermarket to buy blueberries. I only bought blueberries, two punnets. I left two punnets of blueberries there. It’s five dollars I won’t get back. It’s actually more the betrayal in my own mind I feel so upset about. I was so sad.

“Clearly I’m not over the blueberry debacle. No, I’m happy to come through today and I’m just looking forward to playing again on Thursday. I now need to go again to buy blueberries.”

Konta was a lot more focused on Hisense Arena and set about overpowering Brengle, the last player to beat Serena Williams in Auckland last January, whose powder puff serve in particular took a battering.

The British No 1 admitted on the eve of the tournament that, alongside new coach Michael Joyce, she is still working through the anxiety issues that developed during a five-match losing run to end last season.

There were signs of tension from Konta in a number of wild errors in the first set but Brengle’s serve was under constant pressure and, aside from a poor game when she served for it at 5-2, Konta’s serve was working very nicely.

The pair are good friends and share a love of books but Konta grew increasingly ruthless and raced through the second set to set up a second-round tie with another American, 123rd-ranked lucky loser Bernarda Pera.

“I was actually really enjoying being out there,” said Konta.

“It was a nice day. It was sunny. It was quite a full stadium. I kind of tried to absorb the atmosphere a little bit.

“I was really excited to play. I was really looking forward to playing her. She brings different sorts of difficulties. I thought it was a great first round for me to fight through and battle through and stay strong in the way I wanted to play out there. And I feel I did that.”

Konta will be strongly fancied to beat Pera, and the biggest obstacle could be the weather, with a forecast heat wave set to send temperatures soaring into the high 30s.

Konta, who spent her formative years in Australia, is confident she will not let conditions affect her.

She said: “I think I take it in my stride. I know it’s a part of it. Everyone who comes here know that it’s going to happen at one point or another.

A downcast Watson admitted she had not played a smart match after losing to Putintseva in very tight contest.

Watson held a set point in the second set tie-break but could not take it and reflected on an opportunity missed. The 25-year-old said: “I definitely felt like the aggressor but my balls didn’t have enough on them.

“She did very well moving and retrieving a lot. I felt like I had finishing balls constantly and wasn’t able to finish the point. I just don’t feel that I played very well or very smart.”

Watson arrived in Melbourne full of confidence after a run to the semi-finals of the Hobart International but knew exactly what to expect from a match against Putintseva, one of the feistiest players on tour.

The 23-year-old, ranked 14 places higher than Watson at 54 in the world, made the better start and secured an early break but the British No 2 fought back well to level at 4-4.

Watson was becoming frustrated at the number of long rallies she was being dragged into but could not find the first-strike tennis she was looking for and it was Putintseva who clinched the opening set.

Watson did up the aggression at the start of the second set and was rewarded with a 3-0 lead. This time it was Putintseva’s turn to show her annoyance at the partisan nature of the crowd, which was heavily in Watson’s favour.

But Putintseva responded well, levelling at 4-4 in a reversal of the first set and then breaking to give herself a chance to serve for the match at 6-5.

Back came Watson, digging in to break back and force a tie-break, and she held a set point to force a decider at 6-5. But she pulled a backhand wide and two more errors gave Putintseva the victory, which she celebrated exuberantly.

This result was all the more disappointing because of the encouraging form Watson has shown at the start of 2018. She will head to the WTA tournament in St Petersburg before teaming up with Konta in Fed Cup.