Serena Williams, who only returned to competitive action in March, was handed the heaviest loss of her career in the first round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose on Wednesday.
Williams, who was clearly out-of-sorts, was beaten 6-1, 6-0 by British No.1 Johanna Konta in just 51 minutes.
Prior to Konta’s 6-1, 6-0 win over Serena in 1R @mubadalasvc, Serena’s most lopsided losses in tour-level main draw matches:
2014 WTA Finals (RR): l. Simona Halep, 6-0, 6-2.
1998 Oklahoma QF: Johnnette Kruger, 6-1, 6-1.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) August 1, 2018
“I think she played well in the second set and I think I wasn’t sharp at all in the first set, and I think she got confident and clearly ran away with it,” Serena said.
“I really tried to be there, when I was out there it was fighting and that’s all anyone can say. I wasn’t just like giving it away and I was moving a lot better, so just trying to take the positives out of it.
“I’m just taking everything a day at a time. I think she played better in this match than she did 18 months [Australian Open 2017] so I think that’s a good thing for her. I know I can play a zillion times better, so that kind of helps out too.
“I have so many things on my mind, I don’t have time to be shocked about a loss.”
For Konta, this is an incredible win. The Brit has been lukewarm all season, posting a limp win-loss record of 24-22 prior to this event in San Jose.
“I’m just very happy to come through in the end,” Konta said.
“All this match has given me is another opportunity to play again here, another match,” she said.
“So I’m grateful for that opportunity and I’m going to be working very hard to earn another one.”
Konta will now hope to keep up the momentum when she plays another American, Sofia Kenin, who defeated Veronica Cepede 6-4, 6-4, in the second round.
In an earlier match, former world No 1, Victoria Azarenka defeated Kateryna Bondarenko 6-3, 6-7, 7-5 in two hours and 40 minutes to reach the second round.
The win extended Azarenka’s head-to-head record over Bondarenko to 5-0 in a series dating all the way back to 2007.
Azarenka will now face two-time Grand Slam champion and top seed Garbine Muguruza in a second round showdown.
The Belarussian won her only previous meeting against Muguruza in the fourth round of Miami in 2016 and will seek to increase her lead over the Spaniard in order to make progress in San Jose.