Tennis

Johanna Konta was unable to create more positive grand slam headlines at the French Open.

Aljaz Bedene progresses but Johanna Konta and Laura Robson exit at French Open

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Aljaz Bedene won a match at the French Open for the first time but Johanna Konta and Laura Robson both suffered opening-round exits.

Robson's 6-2 6-2 loss to 28th seed Andrea Petkovic was no surprise but great things are now expected of Konta at grand slams so her 6-2 6-3 defeat by Julia Goerges was a big disappointment.

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Konta reached the fourth round at the US Open and then, stunningly, the semi-finals at the Australian Open but she was never able to really get into the match against Goerges.

The German is a streaky player who on her day is very dangerous and this really was her day, with Goerges hitting 30 winners to only four from Konta.

But the British number one was far from downbeat afterwards.

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Konta said: "I try to always do a really good job of leaving my work on the court. No one died. I'm healthy. Coming off court and seeing some players who are not feeling as healthy, I feel very grateful for that.

"I am a bit disappointed that I couldn't get a hold into that match; however, I'm also very excited and motivated to keep improving. I'm not going to beat myself up too much. I think it's always important to be kind to yourself."

While Konta was all smiles, the same could not be said for Robson, who could find little positive in her performance.

Since 2014 and the start of the wrist problems that have derailed her career, Robson has not beaten a top-100 opponent and is languishing at 329 in the rankings.

Her ability to hit winners remains but too often the 22-year-old relies solely on her power and a tally of 37 unforced errors in 16 games against Petkovic told its own story.

Robson said: "It's hard to be positive right now. I feel like I had a lot of chances. There were a lot of games that went to deuce, and it was also my brain switching off at deuce every time, which sucks really. No other way of putting it."

The former British number one will now head onto the grass, which should suit her game better, and will hope to quickly start climbing the rankings.

Robson will play in Nottingham in a fortnight and then in the Aegon Classic at Birmingham, which is the final tournament she can enter using her protected ranking.

After that, she will have to rely on wild cards for main tour events and grand slams and will be spending most of her time on the low-key ITF circuit.

"I don't want to be ranked 300 for very much longer," she said. "(I have) top 100 as a goal, then see where I go after that."

While Heather Watson was the only British woman to make it through to round two, Bedene's progress meant three British men are into the second round for the first time since 1975.

The 26-year-old lost the first eight points against Austrian qualifier Gerald Melzer but recovered to win 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4.

Bedene has been struggling for confidence amid the stress of his battle to compete for Britain in the Davis Cup.

The Slovenia-born player should learn in the next week or two whether there is any chance of another appeal and he revealed the uncertainty has taken such a toll on him that it has translated into physical pain.

He was therefore thrilled to come through a tough battle with Melzer, and he said: "I think it's really important to come out as a winner. It wasn't easy.

"The first few points I made two double faults. I felt okay but when you do the first two double faults you feel like, 'Okay, it's going to be a grind'.

"The first set wasn't the best but then I stepped in more, played my game more. I was fully focused. Just all the nonsense left behind, so it was good."

Bedene is without a full-time coach and is being helped by GB Davis Cup captain Leon Smith.

"When you need special motivation, he's got that," said the British number two. "It's just great working with him."

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Topics:
Tennis
Heather Watson
French Open
Laura Robson

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