British No1 Johanna Konta played down concerns over her form after she suffered a shock second-round elimination to a player ranked 114 places below her at the Australian Open on Thursday.
Konta was well beaten 6-4, 7-5 by Croatia-born American Bernarda Pera, who only entered the main draw as a lucky loser from the qualifying rounds due to other players withdrawing.
It was a premature exit for the world No9, who reached the semi-finals and quarter-finals on her last two visits to Melbourne, and continued a troubling run of form featuring just three wins in 11 matches.
But Konta said: “She played very inspired throughout and I didn’t do enough at the beginning when I had little windows to put my stamp on the match. I’m still taking good stuff from this. I don’t feel by any means that it’s a massive catastrophe.”
Her exit was one of several shocks on the fourth day of the grand slam, as Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza and 2014 winner Stan Wawrinka also fell victim to surprise defeats.
Spaniard Muguruza, seeded third in the women’s draw, lost in straight sets to world No8 Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan. Men’s ninth seed Wawrinka, playing only his second match since knee surgery, fell in three sets to American Tennys Sandgren.
Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic came from a set down to beat Frenchman Gael Monfils in sweltering 39C heat that prompted both players to voice concerns.
“I was dying on the court for 40 minutes,” said Monfils, who needed medical attention for dizziness. ““For sure we took a risk. We both have the same conditions but I think it’s maybe a little bit too hot.”
Djokovic added: “I think there is a limit, and that is a level of tolerance between being fit and being in danger in terms of health. It was right at the limit.”
Defending champion Roger Federer, women’s top seed Simona Halep and former world No1 Maria Sharapova all progressed in straight sets.