Johanna Konta beats Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in Nottingham opener.

Johanna Konta beats Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in Nottingham opener.

Top seed and British number one Johanna Konta marked the start of her grass-court campaign with a comfortable 6-1 6-3 win over the Netherlands’ Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in Nottingham.

Konta’s serve kept the world number 88 on the back foot, the Briton winning 89% of points on her first serve.

After losing the opening game of the match, Konta won the next nine to put herself in control of the contest.

“I am hopeful, I am playing with a lot of hope and excitement,” she said.

“I think for me, this is the most fun surface we have. It is different and asks different things of your game.”

Konta, who has given a bye through the first round, will play Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova in the next round after the Ukrainian upset American 13th seed Madison Brengle.

Konta, 30, has won only three of her previous nine matches in 2021 and announced over the weekend that she had split from her coach Dimitri Zavialoff.

She has enjoyed long runs at her last appearances in Nottingham, however, losing in the final of the 2018 event to current world number one Ashleigh Barty after finishing runner-up to Donna Vekic the year before.

Konta’s best run at Wimbledon, which begins on 28 June, was reaching the last four in 2017.

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