Britain’s Johanna Konta lost her first round match to Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunić in what was the first big upset at the 2017 US Open. Krunić came back from a set down and improved the standard of her overall game to force several key unforced errors from Konta, who looked more out of sorts as the match wore on. The final score was 4-6 6-3 6-4.
Konta was 4-1 up in the second set and seemed as though she would be cruising to victory, but Krunić got the basics right and made fewer mistakes at key moments than her opponent. Her comeback seemed to rattle Konta, who suddenly found herself in a real battle in the third set, and made more mistakes late that eventually turned the result against the British #1.
Krunić is no stranger to US Open success. She got to the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows in 2014, beating several top 10 players on the way (including Petra Kvitova). It seems as though Krunić has regained some of the form and confidence that saw her to such a high point three years ago. She was, however, helped significantly by an out-of-sorts Konta, who struggled to close the match out from a commanding position in the second set. Her groundstrokes too often delivered errors at key moments, as opposed to winners, and from the beginning of the third set, she hit fewer winners than unforced errors. She will see this as a significant missed opportunity in a tournament where many viewed her as Britain’s largest hope for Grand Slam success, following the withdrawal of Andy Murray on Sunday.
For Krunić, however, it seems as though she has a great chance to have another good run at Flushing Meadows. Either Australia’s Alja Tomljanovic or Sweden’s Johanna Larsson await in the next round, and based on today’s result, it appears as though Krunić can be confident of her chances of success going into round 2.
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