28 July 2020 08:38
Johanna Konta endured her toughest defeat in five years on Monday – albeit away from the WTA Tour – when the world No 289 Jodie Burrage, a British novice still learning the game at tennis outposts such as Jodhpur and Nonthaburi, shocked the three-times grand slam semi-finalist, 6-4, 6-3. It was not a great day for British No 1s. In the second match of the Battle of the Brits team event at Roehampton, the world No 77 Cam Norrie double-faulted in the deciding tie-break before sealing a high-grade 4-6, 6-3, 10-7 victory against Dan Evans with an unreachable backhand winner that left his opponent stranded at the net. In the first of 60 matches over seven days, the 21-year-old Burrage outhustled Konta, who had not played since the game closed down in March. In 2015 the then world No 305, Sofia Arvidsson, inflicted a similarly embarrassing defeat.
"First match, team supporting me, against such a good player, I feel really overwhelmed," Burrage said courtside after her first win against a player in the top 100, even though it will not figure in Tour records. Konta, the world No 14 who has been as high as No 4, did not play to her ranking or reputation as her opponent stuck to an uncomplicated game plan behind a solid serve. "I am surprised at how I played," Burrage said. "When I found out I was playing her I was really nervous and didn't want to get hit off the court. But this morning I was just excited to get out there and swing, no pressure.
"I don't know," she said. "She played a really good match today." She confirmed she has withdrawn from the Palermo Open next week and will instead head for the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Kentucky, in preparation for the US Open, scheduled to begin on 31 August – although neither tournament is certain to go ahead, due to the lingering presence of coronavirus. Kyle Edmund survived some tight moments to repulse the robust challenge of promising Kent teenager Anton Matusovich, 7-5, 6-3. At least when Jo Konta found herself ambushed on her return to tennis after lockdown it was at the hands of a promising young British player. Jodie Burrage, from Hindhead in Surrey, is the world No 289 and on Monday made up a deficit of 275 places in the rankings to upset Konta in the opening match of the Battle of the Brits team event at Roehampton. The GB No 1 went down 6-4, 6-3 to the 21-year-old who gains daily inspiration from the view afforded by her flat, which looks on to the practice courts of the All England Club. Jodie Burrage claimed a big scalp over British rival Jo Konta at Roehampton on Monday The 21-year-old beat Konta 6-3, 6-4 to kickstart the Battle of the Brits this week She has played a high volume of matches in the recent British tour events and has also benefited from the fitness work done in lockdown with her boyfriend, Leicester Tigers scrum-half Ben White. With the week-long event organised by Jamie Murray hampered by rain they were moved indoors. Burrage hits sweetly off both sides and was easily good enough to take advantage of a rusty opponent who has not played since March 7. World No 14 Konta was watched by new coach Thomas Hogstedt who, as Sportsmail revealed last week, has begun a trial period after leaving the employment of the now retired Maria Sharapova. World No 14 Konta was making her return from the coronavirus lockdown but suffered defeat Burrage celebrates with Judy Murray, coach of Union Jacks team at the showcase event Konta said of her little-known conqueror: 'She is a good ball striker and has the ability to play at a very good level.' After a stand-out 2019, Konta is trying to get some matches in before expecting to head to tournaments in America. She confirmed that she is pulling out of next week's WTA Tour return in Palermo in the likelihood that the US Open will now go ahead. Pictures of Novak Djokovic practising on hard courts in Spain suggest he is also tilting towards New York and a final decision is expected this week. Teenager Emma Raducanu scored a big win of her own, beating former world No 82 Katie Boulter. The highly-rated 17-year-old won 6-4, 6-3. Team competitions can often spring a shock result or two and it took only 90 minutes of the St James's Place Battle of the Brits mixed event for Johanna Konta to suffer a humbling defeat by an unheralded compatriot who is 275 places below her in the world rankings. Jodie Burrage, the 21-year-old from the small Surrey village of Hindhead, has impressed on the domestic circuit this summer, winning 15 of 17 matches at various events over the past 3½ weeks, and she reaped the rewards yesterday for her recent commitment to match play. The world No 289 was by far the more comfortable player in a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Konta, a three-times grand-slam semi-finalist. Burrage's performance will no doubt have impressed her Union