Qatar Open: Johanna Konta beats Bernarda Pera in first round

Bernarda Pera (left) had gained a shock 6-4 7-5 win over Johanna Konta in the second round of the Australian Open last month

Great Britain’s Johanna Konta reached the second round of the Qatar Open with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 victory over American qualifier Bernarda Pera in Doha.

Konta was playing her first tournament match since her shock defeat by 23-year-old Pera in the Australian Open second round in January.

And the British number one gained a measure of revenge with the win.

Tenth seed Konta, 26, will now play either Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro or Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine.

Konta, ranked 11th in the world, had a shaky start but recovered to break Pera as she served for the first set, and went on to secure victory in one hour and three minutes.

Elsewhere at the Qatar Open, American 12th seed Madison Keys beat Qiang Wang of China 6-1 6-4, France’s Kristina Mladenovic won 6-2 6-4 against China’s Shuai Peng and Czech Petra Kvitova cruised to a 6-0 6-3 triumph over Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay.

Wimbledon champion and fourth seed Garbine Muguruza also registered a 6-3 6-4 win over China’s Duan Yingying.

Earlier this month, Konta helped Britain to wins over Estonia, Portugal and Hungary in the Europe/Africa Zone phase of the Fed Cup.

On Tuesday it was announced Britain would play an away tie against Japan in the Fed Cup World Group II play-offs in April as they aim to reach the World Group II for the first time since 1993.

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