Jo Konta injury agony as she’s forced to pull out of US Open as Heather Watson and Harriet Dart both exit after losing first round matches
- Three of Britain’s five women exited the US Open on Monday evening
- Jo Konta withdrew because of an injury to her left thigh hours before her match
- Heather Watson and Harriet Dartwere then beaten later in the day
And then there were two. Three of Britain’s five women exited the US Open last night as Johanna Konta pulled out prior to her opening match while Heather Watson and Harriet Dart both lost.
Konta withdrew because of an injury to her left thigh, hours before the British No 1 was due to face Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic in the opening round at Flushing Meadows.
As a result she is set to lose her long-held status as Britain’s top-ranking female.
Jo Konta had to withdraw because of an injury to her left thigh hours before her match
British No 2 Watson is in line to take over from Konta, despite extending her regrettable record at this tournament. The 29-year-old was junior US Open champion in 2009 but has never made it beyond the main draw’s first round in 10 attempts, and she lost 6-1, 6-4 to Kaja Juvan.
Dart was unfortunate as an apparent thigh injury suffered midway through the second set hampered her chances of beatingworld No 62 Caroline Garcia, who rallied to win 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.
It means Britain’s hopes of a long run at the US Open are pinned on teenage sensation Emma Raducanu and Katie Boulter, both of whom play on Tuesday.
Konta’s withdrawal is the latest blow for the 30-year-old, who previously contracted coronavirus and missed Wimbledon then the Olympic Games. It was also announced in June that Konta had split with coach Dimitri Zavialoff for a second time following her first-round exit at the French Open.
The British No 1 was due to face Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic in the opening round
After a difficult summer, Konta returned in Montreal three weeks ago and secured an encouraging victory over Elina Svitolina, the world No 5. However, she had to withdraw the following day due to a left knee injury, handing a walkover to the American teenager Coco Gauff.
Konta arrived at the US Open complaining of that knee issue and Monday’s withdrawal because of a new problem will see her bumped out of the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2015.
Lucky loser Kamilla Rakhimova replaced Konta, while Watson will remain at Flushing Meadows to compete in the women’s doubles, alongside Anna Blinkova.
After Dart, Boulter and Raducanu had emerged from qualifying to join Konta and Watson in the main draw, Britain had five women competing in a non-Wimbledon Grand Slam for the first time in almost 30 years.
Sadly that has quickly been diminished, with world No 150 Raducanu and Boulter, ranked 190, left flying the flag.
Heather Watson lost her first round match on a day where three British women exited
Raducanu, the 18-year-old who became a big hit on the grass of SW19 in the summer, was due to face world No 14 Jennifer Brady on Tuesday in the Louis Armstrong Stadium, the second largest arena at Flushing Meadows.
Yet Brady withdrew injured, meaning Raducanu will instead face Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele, the world No 128 who had lost in the final round of qualifying. That will take place on Court 17. Boulter faces Liudmila Samsonova, ranked 52 in the world.
Dart fought well in her opening-round match against Garcia. There was a great deal of toing and froing in the 65-minute opening set, with Dart breaking Garcia three times and vice versa. It went to a tiebreak which the Brit, ranked 151 in the world, won 8-6.
In the second set, after being broken and trailing at 4-3, Dart required a medical time-out. She returned with heavy strapping on her left thigh and could be seen limping from then on.
The trainer had to return to court again before the conclusion of the second set, which Dart lost 6-4. In the third, Garcia stormed into a 4-0 lead, before prevailing 6-2.