Nature Valley Open: Angry Johanna Konta loses in Nottingham final

Johanna Konta
Konta beat Barty on her way to reaching last year's Nottingham final

A furious Johanna Konta lost out to Ashleigh Barty in the final of the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham.

Konta had recovered from 4-1 down in the decider to level at 4-4 but a controversial call allowed Barty go 5-4 ahead.

The Briton got into a heated discussion with umpire Paula Vieira Souza, which seemed to affect her concentration.

She was broken in the next game to give Barty a 6-3 3-6 6-4 win and did not shake the umpire's hand at the end.

"At 4-4 in the third set, that's quite an important time of any match," Konta said. "It's a difficult position to be in.

"I definitely burned through quite a bit of energy at that moment in time.

"But, except for one loose shot [in the last game], I don't think I did too much wrong.

"Obviously I'm a little bit sad I could not come through with the win today but I'm also taking a lot of positives from this week in general."

Konta remonstrates with umpire
Konta remonstrated with the umpire after she believed a shot from Barty had landed out

Konta had been seeking her first title since Miami in April 2017 but only managed 52% of her first serves in the opening set with Barty the more solid.

But she got back into the match and levelled it at one set apiece, finally converting her seventh break-point opportunity.

The Briton, who is now ranked 22 in the world after a poor first half of the year, was looking to maintain her momentum in the decider.

However, Barty, ranked five places higher, broke in the fourth game to make it 3-1 before holding serve for 4-1.

It looked like Konta's chances were disappearing fast but she battled back to make it 4-4 before her emotions boiled over.

The 27-year-old was furious with the umpire for not overruling a Barty shot that looked long as the Australian held for 5-4, saying to the official: "It's an absolute joke. You're making decisions that affect our lives. Do you fully understand that?"

Konta, who then had to serve to stay in the match, won only one more point as Barty clinched victory with a backhand pass.

Both players will now be in action at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham from Monday with Barty up against a qualifier while Konta will take on two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

World number three Garbine Muguruza, world number five Elina Svitolina and British number two Heather Watson are also among the players competing in Birmingham.

Earlier on Sunday, Watson lost against Abigail Spears and Alicja Rosolska in the final of the women's doubles in Nottingham with partner Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Elsewhere, Serb Aleksandra Krunic beat Kirsten Flipens 6-7 (0-7) 7-5, 6-1 to win Libema Open in s'Hertogenbosch and claim her first WTA title.

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