Konta powers through to Italian Open third round

Johanna Konta made a strong start at the Italian Open with a straight-set win over Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva in Rome.

The British number one, who turns 26 on Wednesday, won 6-3 6-0 to claim her second clay-court victory of the year.

Konta had a bye in the first round as the fifth seed and will face American Venus Williams or Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko in round three.

Fellow Briton Aljaz Bedene lost 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 to Novak Djokovic.

Top seed Andy Murray takes on Italian Fabio Fognini in the evening session at 20:00 BST.

Konta impressed against Putintseva, breaking the world number 29’s serve four times while remaining steadfast on her own.

“You need to play yourself a little bit into the match and into the tournament,” said Konta.

“I felt that my level did improve, especially at the beginning of that second set pretty much through to the end.”

The first set was hard work for the Briton but her attacking instincts prevailed with the only break in game five.

A fainting ball boy, who was escorted from the court, was the only significant interruption to the world number six’s progress in the second set as she raced through six straight games.

“I saw him after the match and he seemed to be doing better, so I think he’s fine,” Konta said of the ball boy.

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