Konta wins Nature Valley opener in Birmingham

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Konta wins Nature Valley opener in Birmingham

Johanna Konta was thrilled to make a winning return to action in her first match since her French Open semi-final defeat in the first round of the Nature Valley Classic. The British No.1 beat world number 20 Anett Kontaveit 6-4 6-2 on Monday afternoon to progress to the second round in Birmingham. Konta, who has never progressed beyond the second round in Birmingham, believes her successful transition from clay to grass is the first essential step towards registering home success this summer. "I'm so happy to be back on home soil," she said. "I'm so pleased to get started on the grass, this is such a privileged time for the Brits so I'm happy. "I had a few days off, did not get too much practice on the grass because of the weather, but then I got back into training." Konta withdrew from last week's Nottingham Open to ease her schedule after making the French Open last four and the 28-year-old insists the rest was necessary in order for her to succeed on home soil. "It had to happen. I had played a lot of matches in the last month and needed to give the body a rest," she added. "I'd like to play a lot of matches on this court, so I will be doing everything I can." Fellow Briton Heather Watson was knocked out on the opening day after losing in three sets to two-time Birmingham finalist Barbora Strycova 3-6 6-3 6-4. Meanwhile, fourth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine suffered a shock defeat in the first round as she lost 6-3 3-6 6-4 to Russia's Margarita Gasparyan.