Johanna Konta loses to Klara Koukalova in Linz qualifying

Konta, at a career-high ranking of 47, led 4-2 in the final set but lost 6-2 2-6 6-4 to the world number 105.

It was only Konta’s third defeat in 26 matches since Wimbledon, and her first to a lower-ranked player since May.

The 24-year-old will play doubles with fellow Briton Naomi Broady in Linz, before heading to Luxembourg next week.

Konta had followed up her remarkable run to the quarter-finals in Wuhan, China, where she beat world number two Simona Halep before losing narrowly to Venus Williams, with two qualifying wins in Linz.

Having broken into into the world’s top 50 for the first time last week, those two wins helped her rise another two places to 47 on Monday.

However, the 33-year-old Koukalova recovered from losing nine of 10 games in the middle of the match to take the last four and claim a place in the main draw.

Konta’s only other defeats since a first-round loss to Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon had come against Williams, and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at the US Open.

Konta’s fellow British number one, Andy Murray, will return to action this week for the first time since Britain’s Davis Cup win over Australia last month.

The Scot, 28, has a bye in round one of the Shanghai Masters and willplay American Steve Johnson in round two.

Should he win that, Murray could then face Belgian number one David Goffin, with the pair likely to lead their respective nations in the Davis Cup final next month.

Novak Djokovic is the top seed in Shanghai and could meet Murray in the semi-finals, with Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal in the opposite half of the draw.

Heather Watson, the British number two at 61 in the rankings, will playChina’s world number 191, Kai-Lin Zhang, in the first round of the Hong Kong Open on Tuesday.

 




 

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