British No1 Johanna Konta has cruised into the second round of the US Open after a comfortable victory over American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Back at the competition where she enjoyed her breakthrough campaign last year, Konta eased to a 6-3 6-3 victory. She will take on world No 71 Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria in her second round match.
Exactly 12 months ago, Konta entered as a qualifier and went onto secure her just second grand slam victory over Louisa Chirico before seeing off ninth seed Garbine Muguruza in an enthralling contest, only to be stopped by Petra Kvitova at the last 16 stage. It was a run that saw the Briton reach a new career high in the world rankings, acting as a springboard for her superb semi-final finish at the Australian Open that followed three months later.
She took a step closer to a top 10 ranking with a commanding victory over Mattek-Sands in the early hours of Tuesday morning (30 August), breaking her opponent to take a 2-1 lead in the first set. The Briton comfortably matched the American across the court and broke her again with a sublime return before sealing the opener.
Mattek-Sands – who won a gold medal at the Rio Olympics in the mixed doubles – offered some resistance in the second, opening up three break points at 4-2 as she attempted to claw her way back into the contest. Konta coolly saved them all, however, sealing the contest with a comprehensive backhand to book her place in the second round.
It was the perfect opening day for British hopes at the final grand slam of the year with British No. 4 Kyle Edmund booking his place in the next round after a stunning victory over Richard Gasquet. Edmund, ranked 84<sup>th in the world, was making his first appearance in the final grand slam of the year but provided a scintillating performance against the No 13 seed, easing to a 6-2 6-2 6-3 win.