Wimbledon questions answered as Johanna Konta cruises to victory

Johanna Konta played down comparisons of her run to the Wimbledon semi-finals two years ago despite another impressive display taking her smoothly into the third round.

Johanna Konta in action on day four at Wimbledon, easing to a straight sets win over Katerina Siniakova . Picture: Adam Davy/PA
Johanna Konta in action on day four at Wimbledon, easing to a straight sets win over Katerina Siniakova . Picture: Adam Davy/PA

The British No 1 has yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament after a commanding 6-3 6-4 victory against Katerina Siniakova.

Konta reached the last four in 2017, and rose to No 4 in the world, but her form dipped last year.

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The 28-year-old, a semi-finalist at the French Open in May, said: “I don’t really compare myself to myself. I think I’m in a good place right now. I think I’m playing good tennis.

Defending champion Angelique Kerber, on her way to crashing out at Wimbledon on day four. Picture: Steven Paston/PA

“I’m definitely enjoying the tennis I’m playing. I feel like I’m asking my opponents a lot of questions.

“I feel like I’m answering quite a few, as well, when they ask me questions out on court.

“I think I’ve been kind of building on my level each tournament, each match I’ve been playing as the season has been going. I’m pleased with that.

“We know it’s never just an upward trajectory. Overall I’m just really glad that I came through a tough match today, and just looking forward to being in the third round.”

Czech player Siniakova, ranked 38 in the world, beat Konta in their only previous meeting in 2017, but she was hardly given a sniff of a repeat on Centre Court.

It was a ruthless performance, particularly on serve, from Konta who looks to be building on the form she showed at Roland Garros.

She will now face American Sloane Stephens, who she swept aside 6-4 6-1 in Paris, on Saturday.

Stephens said: “It’s been a rough year with Jo Konta! Like I said, I’ve got to get her this time if I play her, obviously.

“But she’s a great player, so I’m just going to have to go out and try a new game plan, new style, try some different stuff and just compete.”

Joining Konta in the third round are British pair Dan Evans and Harriet Dart.

This is familiar territory for Konta and Evans but very much new ground for 22-year-old Dart, who followed up her first Wimbledon singles victory on Tuesday by beating Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-6 (4) 3-6 6-1.

Having served for the first set and then come through in a tie-break, Dart was pushed to a deciding set but swept through it to set up a third-round clash with top seed Ashleigh Barty.

Dart said: “I think I’m just learning from all these experiences that I’m having this year. Everything is still pretty new for me.

“This is my second Wimbledon. I’m still finding my feet. I’m definitely proving that my tennis is right up there with the level. I’m just doing the best that I can. I’m just really excited to play my next match.”

Evans was overcome with emotion after beating 18th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the best moment of his comeback so far.

The British No 3 has matched his most successful run at Wimbledon and is closing in on a return to the top 50 just over 12 months after returning to the sport without a ranking following his year-long cocaine ban.

After sealing a 6-3 6-2 7-6 (2) victory on Court Two, Evans thrust his hands to the sky with tears in his eyes.

“I just want to do well at this tournament,” he said later.

“It was a goal to be in the main draw here. I did that. Obviously I missed out the last few years. To be into the third round is great for me.

“A lot of my friends were here, people who have helped me so much. It just got the better of me today. There’s plenty more tennis to be played in this tournament, so I won’t be resting on that win.”

Cameron Norrie and Jay Clarke both had majorly uphill tasks against Kei Nishikori and Roger Federer, respectively, and neither managed to win a set.

Clarke, 20, acquitted himself well, pushing the eight-time champion to a tie-break in the second set before falling to a 6-1 7-6 (3) 6-2 defeat on Court One.

British No 2 Norrie made his Centre Court debut and led 4-2 in the opening set against eighth seed Nishikori before losing 6-4 6-4 6-0.

“I don’t think I was really too fazed by the occasion, but a phenomenal experience today,” said the 23-year-old. “I was just really happy with the way I handled myself.”

Defending Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber wilted on Court Two as she blew a one-set lead to bow out 2-6 6-2 6-1 against lucky loser Lauren Davis.

World No 1 Ashleigh Barty suffered no such trouble on the same court, the Australian sweeping past Alison Van Uytvanck 6-1 6-3. Barty next faces Dart.

Two-time champion Petra Kvitova is through after a straight-sets win 7-5 6-2 over Kristina Mladenovic of France.

Fourth seed Kiki Bertens came from a set down to beat American Taylor Townsend 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-2.

Serena Williams recovered from losing the first set against qualifier Kaja Juvan.

The seven-time winner beat the 18-year-old Slovenian 2-6 6-2 6-4.