Italian Open: Johanna Konta beats Sloane Stephens & faces Venus Williams in third round

Johanna Konta will have to play twice on Thursday at the Italian Open after rain prevented play on Wednesday

Johanna Konta recovered from a set down to defeat American world number eight Sloane Stephens 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-1 and reach the Italian Open third round.

The Briton, 27, made light work of the deciding set to record a seventh clay court victory of the year in two hours 33 minutes in Rome.

Due to persistent rain on Wednesday, the Briton will play twice on Thursday and faces Venus Williams next.

Meanwhile, world number two Simona Halep lost to Marketa Vondrousova.

Czech teenager Vondrousova, 19, triumphed 2-6 7-5 6-3, her second victory against the Romanian in 2019.

Konta made the perfect start, breaking Stephens twice before saving four break points to take a 4-0 lead.

But the 2017 US Open champion rallied impressively to recover her deficit before sealing a first-set tie-break 7-3.

The Briton made a crucial break at 4-4 in the second set to force a decider, and won three consecutive break points in the third to close out the match.

She now faces Williams, who received a bye after her sister Serena withdrew with injury.

Elsewhere, Japan’s world number one Naomi Osaka eased past Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets, winning 6-3 6-3 to set up a third-round match against Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Another Czech, Petra Kvitova, is through after defeating Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva 6-0 6-1, while American Sofia Kenin overcame compatriot Madison Keys 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-4.

Dutch world number four Kiki Bertens overcame 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova 6-2 4-6 7-5, while 2017 Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain also progressed, 6-4 4-6 6-2, against America’s Danielle Rose Collins.

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