Eastbourne: Johanna Konta loses to Ons Jabeur in third round

Eastbourne: Johanna Konta loses to Ons Jabeur in third round

Eastbourne: Watch best shots as Ons Jabeur shocks Johanna Konta

British number one Johanna Konta’s final tournament before Wimbledon ended in defeat by world number 62 Ons Jabeur in the third round at Eastbourne.

Konta had led by a break in the first set before the Tunisian fought back to win 6-3 6-2.

French Open semi-finalist Konta has failed to transfer this season’s clay-court success on to grass, losing in the Birmingham second round last week.

Konta is the 19th seed for Wimbledon, which starts on Monday.

Konta lets match slip away on greasy court

The start of the match had been delayed by around half an hour because of rain at Eastbourne and, when they came back on, the players had a brief discussion at the net about whether the surface was playable.

Konta wiped her hand on the grass and asked Jabeur what she thought, with the Tunisian shrugging but raising no objection.

The Briton got off to a good start, holding to love in her first service game before breaking for 3-2. But Jabeur broke back in the next game and grew in confidence.

Konta seemed tentative on the surface – as if not quite trusting that the court was dry enough – and she was punished for it by the Tunisian.

The Briton’s serving, which powered her through a clay-court season where she reached two WTA finals and the last four at Roland Garros, was below par – she won 60% of first-serve points and just 29% of second-serve points. That first figure had been well over 80% in recent weeks.

“I think the rain brought me luck and the win,” said Jabeur, who will face Alize Cornet for a place in the semi-finals. Frenchwoman Cornet beat China’s Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-2.

“I like the way I played. I like to make crazy shots. The crowd are very fair. Konta is a great player and has inspired me in the past. I hope the crowd can come with me now.”

Top seeds into quarter-finals

Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber booked her place in the last eight, coming through a tight first set before running away with the second in a 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 victory over Swedish world number 66 Rebecca Peterson.

The German fourth seed will face former world number one Simona Halep, who beat battling Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-1 4-6 6-3.

Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova took less than an hour to brush aside Elise Merten 6-1 6-2 and set up a quarter-final against Russian world number 52 Ekaterina Alexandrova, who went through after 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko retired when trailing 6-3 2-1.

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