The 12th seed Johanna Konta hit the exit door at the Australian Open after the first obstacle, beaten by Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-2 in 63 minutes. The Tunisian outplayed the better-ranked opponent in every segment, playing against only two break chances and delivering four breaks to control the scoreboard and make a winning start.
Johanna could hit only eight winners and 19 unforced errors, struggling to find the pace and experiencing the second loss of the season following an early exit in Brisbane as well. The Briton had been sidelined since the US Open last year with a knee injury, feeling good on the court today in terms of fitness but still dealing with the lack of rhythm after such a long break, hoping to change that in Dubai in a couple of weeks.
"It's an unfortunate thing. It's part of the sport and it's part of also the way I play, and it's something that will come with time and matches," Konta said. "Ultimately, the main thing was to start playing again, and I am.
And how I physically felt out there is obviously a massive tick for me compared to where I was in September of last year. I think giving myself that time to find a level that I want to play is going to be important. I also played an excellent opponent and it's not all on my racket.
I expected her to be inspired to play well, and she's the kind of player that also gets on a bit of a roll. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite find a way to make things more difficult for her.. I guess that's where we are right now.
It is improving. I mean, I'm not going to cut myself open just for the hell of it. I knew that by making a decision to come to play here, I was opening myself up to potentially it not going well. But what was good today was my knee felt quite good.. that's a very positive thing for me, especially for where I was in September."