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Johanna Konta has become the first British woman since 1992 to qualify for the French Open third round as she overcame illness to sweep over Lauren Davis.


Konta, seeded 26th, needed four match points to clinch a hard-fought 6-3 1-6 6-3 win over the American in Paris.

Konta in a statement disclosed “I’ve been a bit sick since Sunday. I’m doing everything I can to recover and dealing with it.”

The 28-year-old will play Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova, ranked 46th, on Friday.

Konta would have expected to face fourth seed Kiki Bertens, who Konta beat in the Rome Masters semi-finals recently, but the Dutch player retired from her match against Kuzmova because of illness.

However the British number one has been struggling with a heavy cold, blowing her nose between points and sounding hoarse during the post-match media interviews.

“I wouldn’t say I’m feeling brilliant, but I’m also managing well and cracking on,” she said.

“I’m letting my body heal itself as best as it can with the demands that are on it right now. I knew it wasn’t over until I was shaking hands.”

Konta has moved up on the world rankings after a productive clay-court season which has seen her reach the Morocco Open and Italian Open finals, beating Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and Bertens in Rome.

After edging a tight opening set by breaking in the penultimate game, then losing her way in the second, Konta showed impressive mental resilience to eventually take the decider.

She managed to instantly block out the second set, hitting 10 winners and making only two unforced errors to surge into a 5-0 lead.

Then she stuttered again with one game separating her from victory.

Konta, however, managed to reset again, fighting back to avert danger and clinching victory at the fourth attempt with a thumping drive volley.

“I’m definitely playing good tennis right now. I’m competing well.

“When I’m presented with tough situations out there, I keep a cool head. I’m managing to problem-solve well, which makes me difficult to play.”

By Kayode Oniwinde

Read also: Osaka Pimps Schmiedlova To Qualify For French Open Second Round

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