(Reuters) - Australian No.1 Ashleigh Barty heaped disappointment on Britain’s home hope Johanna Konta for a second successive year in the Nottingham Open as she ran out a three-set winner in a tight and compelling final on Sunday.
A disgruntled Konta, beaten in the final of the same pre-Wimbledon grass tournament by Donna Vekic last year, found the rising 22-year-old Australian talent too tough a hurdle as she fell to a 6-3 3-6 6-4 defeat after two hours and six minutes.
It was Barty’s first tournament triumph of the year, the second of her career and a demonstration from the former junior Wimbledon champion that she could now even be an outside threat for the senior title at the grasscourt grand slam.
For Konta, again the great British women’s hope for Wimbledon after reaching the semi-finals last year, it should have been a delight to be back on grass after her familiar struggles on the Roland Garros clay.
Yet after fighting her way back into the match from a set down and then battling back to 4-4 from 4-1 down in the deciding set, the Australian-born Briton seemed to lose her composure.
At the changeover at 5-4 down, she complained furiously to the umpire about a line call in the penultimate game.
Barty, the world No.17, stayed tough to then rack up three match points on Konta’s serve, the first of which she saved before the tough little Queenslander took the spoils with a passing shot.
Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Pritha Sarkar