A cameo appearance from actor Tom Hiddleston helped inspire Johanna Konta to a fine three-set victory on the first day of the US Open. Surprisingly, it was Konta’s first win at Flushing Meadows for three years.
Konta explained afterwards that she had made a chance connection with Hiddleston – the star of numerous superhero movies, who is probably better known around these parts as the ex-boyfriend of pop star Taylor Swift.
“Just literally we crossed paths a few days ago,” Konta said. “I did the Good Samaritan thing and said, ‘Don’t bother him, he’s obviously busy.’ And then he actually said, ‘I don’t usually do this but I’m a massive fan,’ and I was like, ‘What, who? Who else is here?’ It was basically that and then we got chatting and he’s super nice and his co-stars [in the Broadway show Betrayal] came as well and they’re also super nice, so it’s good.”
There was no little drama on the court as Konta pulled out a 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Daria Kasatkina – a top-ten player as recently as last year, who has since dropped back to No. 42 since developing a few yips on her second serve.
Konta was outstanding in a first set that saw her break three times while giving up only two points on her own serve. But Kasatkina has a tricky game style that involves numerous changes of pace and spin, and she successfully knocked Konta out of her rhythm in a messy second set.
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