Johanna Konta loses to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko at Italian Open
British No 1 suffers defeat on her 27th birthday
By Sky Sports Tennis
Last Updated: 18/05/18 3:26pm
Johanna Konta saw her hopes of a maiden clay court title ended after a third-round exit to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko at the Italian Open.
Konta, world No 22, was aiming for a third consecutive victory in a tournament for the first time this season but lost 2-6 6-3 6-4 against the world No 6 in two hours and 17 minutes.
Ostapenko, who is preparing for the defence of her French Open title at Roland Garros, recovered from a slow start to record a first victory over the British No 1.
Konta broke Ostapenko's opening service game before a further break in the fifth game saw her take the initiative in proceedings.
Ostapenko wasted two break point opportunities in Konta's first service game of the second set but converted the first of three further opportunities in the next service game to earn a first break of the match - which proved enough to force a third set.
The 20-year-old Latvian maintained her momentum at the start of the decider to break her opponent once again and had three break points in the third game to increase her control, but Konta showed good resistance to hold serve.
Konta's travails against world top 10
Johanna Konta has not beaten a player from the top-10 since victory over Simona Halep at Wimbledon last year.
This was her fifth consecutive defeat against such an opponent, after losses to Halep, Elina Svitolina, Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams.
While Konta was being put under stress to hold serve - the world No 22 saved a fifth break point of the set in the fifth game - Ostapenko only faced one such pressure moment in what turned out to be her penultimate service game.
Ostapenko held firm amid increased pressure by Konta to secure the victory with her first match point opportunity to set up a meeting with three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova, who eliminated Daria Gavrilova 6-3 6-4.
World No 4 Elina Svitolina recovered from dropping the first set of her third-round match against Russia's Daria Kasatkina without picking up a game to progress to the last eight of the tournament 0-6 6-3 6-2.
The Ukranian, yet to win a major, will next meet Angelique Kerber, who routed Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1 6-1.
Simona Halep benefited from a ticket straight into the quarter-finals after her opponent American Madison Keys was forced to pull out of their encounter with a rib injury. The Romanian will retain her world No 1 ranking as a consequence.
Caroline Wozniacki edged out 15th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova 6-2 5-7 6-3 in the day's last match.
The winner will play Anett Kontaveit, who beat 1999 champion Venus Williams 6-2 7-6 (7-3) for her second win over the American in two weeks.
The Masters 1000 Series continues with our coverage of the ATP Italian Open on Sky Sports Arena from 10am on Friday.
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