Eastbourne: Johanna Konta beaten by Caroline Wozniacki
|2018 Nature Valley International on the BBC|
|Venue: Devonshire Park, Eastbourne Dates: 24-30 June|
|Coverage: Watch the women's tournament live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app.|
British number one Johanna Konta's final tournament before Wimbledon ended in a three-set defeat by top seed Caroline Wozniacki at Eastbourne.
Konta, 27, lost 4-6 6-1 6-4 in front of her home crowd at the Nature Valley International.
It was her first defeat in three matches against the Danish world number two.
Wozniacki will play Ash Barty in the quarter-finals after the Australian eighth seed beat Hsieh Su-wei 6-0 6-4.
"After the first set I think I got a little bit more of a rhythm and I played better. I was lucky to get it in the end," Wozniacki said.
"We both played really well and I was just out there trying to get one more ball into the court and stay aggressive with the serves and returns."
Konta's next outing will be at Wimbledon, which starts at the All England Club on Monday.
"My recent form is the best I've been playing this year, I'm definitely getting better and better," she said.
"Now I'm really looking forward to Wimbledon, it's the best tournament in the world.
"I'm becoming more solid as the weeks go on."
Earlier in the day, third seed Petra Kvitova, who won last week's Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, pulled out of Eastbourne with a hamstring injury to put Agnieszka Radwanska into the last eight.
Radwanska's next opponent is fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko, who was in ruthless form in a 6-1 6-2 victory over Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Meanwhile, German fourth seed Angelique Kerber made quick work of her match against American Danielle Collins, triumphing 6-1 6-1 in 53 minutes to reach the quarter-finals.
Defending champion Czech Karolina Pliskova also reached the quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-4 win over compatriot Barbora Strycova.
Positives for Konta in defeat
Konta saw her ranking - and profile among the British public - increase with a memorable run to the semi-finals at the All England Club last year, but inconsistency since has seen her drop to 22nd in the world.
With a stack of ranking points to defend, the former world number four needs a good grass-court season to stop falling further.
"Having to defend so many ranking points does not bother me," Konta said. "We're in a very fortunate position in tennis where every week is a chance to gain points."
Konta began it with a run to the Nottingham final, where she was beaten by Barty, then lost in her opener at Birmingham to two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova.
In Wozniacki, who won her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, she faced another opponent of fine pedigree.
Despite defeat, there were positives for Konta to take as she pushed Wozniacki in a match lasting two hours and 10 minutes in hot conditions.
However, it still culminated in her seventh successive defeat against a top-10 player.
"You need to give credit to the top-10 players because they play constantly at their level and also can raise that level. That's what I'm working towards," Konta said.
Konta proved she still has the power to trouble the best in an impressive first set, breaking Wozniacki's serve in the opening game and then again for a 4-3 lead before serving out.
Wozniacki is one of the most resilient players on the WTA tour and swung the match back in her favour by winning nine of the next 12 games.
Konta broke back early in the decider for 2-2 - then produced her first double fault of the match to hand Wozniacki another break in the next game.
That proved crucial as Wozniacki maintained her control, serving out her first match point with an ace.