Madison Keys dealt with her tight opening round defeat to Johanna Konta at the Brisbane International with great perspective and lots of positivity after the pair put on an impressive show to start the new year.
In a first round clash between two players ranked No. 9 and No. 19 in the world, it was the higher-ranked Konta who came out on top 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a two-hour seven-minute battle.
“It was damn good tennis today so… I haven’t played a match in four months so I was like it’s a win for me,” said a smiling Keys, who is back to full health now after going through wrist surgery early last year.
“Obviously knew it was going to be a tough match. Played really well, she played better, not much that I can do about it, not that upset about it. I think if I played the way that I played, against most people today I probably would have won. She happened to be better, too good.”
Konta had not won a match since August and ended 2017 with five consecutive defeats while struggling with a left foot injury.
The 26-year-old Brit is pleased to put that all behind her as she started 2018 in fine fashion, under the guidance of her new coach Michael Joyce, who previously worked with Maria Sharapova.
“It feels good to come through a match like that especially in three sets and especially against someone like her but I never lost faith in my ability,” said Konta of her win over Keys.
“I think both of us were kind of violently pushed into not being rusty or does come out still in little areas, in 30-alls or love-30s. I feel it more personally with concentration levels.”
Keys, a runner-up at the US Open last September, is upbeat about her start to the season despite the loss.
“That match could have happened late in a Grand Slam or in the finals of another tournament, happened first round. Too good,” said the 22-year-old American.
“Honestly, I look back at last year, and I won five matches total up to Stanford and then I won Stanford. So who knows what I’m going to do. Winning a first round but playing really well, or losing it and playing really well… kind of feels the same right now.”
— WTA (@WTA) January 1, 2018
Konta next faces Croatia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, who was the runner-up at Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge in Dubai less than three weeks ago.
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