Opening the season with three straight losses after an ongoing knee injury, Johanna Konta came to Monterrey as the second seed and took down former world no. 1 Kim Clijsters 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 25 minutes. It was the second match for Clijsters after making a comeback, losing to Garbine Muguruza in Dubai and suffering another early loss in Monterrey ahead of Indian Wells where she also received a wild card.
The Belgian fired nine aces but it wasn't enough to keep her safe, giving away more than 40% of the points in her games and getting broken three times from eight opportunities offered to the Briton. Johanna lost 12 points in ten service games, never facing a break point and scoring a late break in set number two to seal the deal in straight sets.
They stayed in touch in the opening six games before Konta grabbed a break at 15 with a backhand winner in game seven to move in front. She secured the set with another break in game nine following a forehand winner, gathering boost ahead of set number two where Clijsters raised her level to stay in touch until 5-5.
Nonetheless, she couldn't do anything on the return and Konta found the way to avoid a tie break, earning a break in the 12th game to move over the top and enter the last 16. "I felt some things were better but some still need a lot of improvement; that's why it's good to play matches," Clijsters said.
"I've been through different generations and played many players throughout my whole career. I'm still at a stage where I want to focus on what I'm doing and how I'm feeling, and also start reading my opponents.
It's a process that I have to trust and keep working hard to improve in every match I play. I want to take big steps but I have to focus on small ones and to improve day by day." "Her ability to do things with the ball is what made her a multiple Grand Slam champion.
It's why she was able to come back and play at a level like this," Konta said. "That's not exactly an everyday thing, that's for sure."