By Alison Williams
LONDON (Reuters) – British number one Johanna Konta scored her first Wimbledon win at the fifth attempt on Wednesday, seeing off Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig 6-1 7-5 in a match twice delayed by rain.
Konta, who was ranked 126th in the world at last year’s tournament, has risen quickly up the tennis ladder to be seeded 16 this year and reached the Australian Open semi-final.
Puig, 36 in the world, settled better after Wednesday’s rain interruption, holding her serve at the resumption in the fourth game of the second set from 40-15 up, and immediately breaking Konta in a match that had started on Tuesday.
But Konta regrouped to break back in the eighth game and then again to claim victory in front of a home crowd desperate for something to cheer on the uncovered outside courts shortly before play was suspended once more and abandoned for the day.
“I just wanted to go out there and perform the best that I could, to really deal with the situations that were at hand, try to do myself proud, really staying calm, staying present and fighting well,” she told reporters.
“We had been waiting around for quite some time, I was happy with how I was able to, you know, get myself into the match. It’s not easy when it’s not from the beginning of the match. You kind of have to really… rush out of the block.”
Her second-round opponent will be Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, who ended up playing fifth on a marathon day under the roof on Centre Court as organizers tried to clear the backlog. She beat Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3 6-4.
Eight women’s opening matches are still to be completed.
Konta said she dealt with the delay overnight and the waiting when was interrupted on Wednesday by “seeing the funny side of things, just keeping it lighthearted”.
British number two Heather Watson may not be seeing the funny side as she waits to finish her first round match after Germany’s Annika Beck overturned the local favorite’s advantage, taking the second set to love.
Beck needed a medical time out to strap up her ankle after taking a tumble in the second game of the decider after breaking Watson before play was abandoned with the score at 6-3 0-6 0-1.
(Reporting by Alison Williams; Editing by Ken Ferris)