Konta handle the pressure as Peng takes first-round victory

Johanna Konta admitted she must return to the sports psychology drawing board after failing to fend off the Wimbledon jitters in a first-round defeat to China’s Shuai Peng.

Konta handle the pressure as Peng takes first-round victory

Johanna Konta admitted she must return to the sports psychology drawing board after failing to fend off the Wimbledon jitters in a first-round defeat to China’s Shuai Peng.

The 23-year-old broke new ground by rising to 96th in the world on Monday, only to lose out 6-4 3-6 6-4 to Peng.

Konta had earned outright Wimbledon qualification for the first time but lost out at the opening hurdle due to a string of unforced errors, becoming the first British hope to lose on day one.

The Sydney-born Brit conceded nerves got the better of her against the world number 60.

“In the first set she handled the occasion much better than I did,” said Konta.

“I was playing with a little nerves, a lot of tension, I felt. Obviously when you play like that, you can’t play at your best level.

“Obviously this game is very much mental.

“I am working with a sports psychologist, she’s helping me a lot with how to handle situations, and that’s obviously a work in progress.”

Konta surrendered the first set in frustrating fashion, slipping up on a fourth break and set point to hand her Chinese opponent a 6-4 success.

A host of loose errors had gifted Peng the opening set, and the British hope quickly underlined her frustrations by claiming an immediate second-set break.

The home hope levelled the match after fending off a recovery from Peng.

Konta relinquished her serve at the start of the deciding set, only to break back immediately.

Peng broke again then held though, and the 28-year-old, who lost to American Sloane Stephens at the French Open, duly cruised to victory.

Konta said it was tough to keep the positive aspect of breaking into the top 100 world rankings in mind in defeat.

“I’m not sure if it’s consolation,” she said. “Obviously it’s a small milestone for me, so obviously I take a lot of pride in that, am very happy about that.

“But obviously that’s not my main goal, I’m very much looking forward, wanting to keep moving forward.”

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