Avengers star Tom Hiddleston, currently starring in Betrayal on Broadway, was in the British number one’s box following a chance meeting in New York.
And after two hours the end game arrived for Russian Daria Kasatkina as Konta progressed 6-1 4-6 6-2.
“We met a few days ago, it turns out he’s a big tennis fan so I invited him down and he brought some of his co-stars,” revealed Konta.
“We literally just crossed paths, and I did the ‘don’t bother him, he’s busy’ thing, and he actually came over and said, ‘I’m a massive fan’.
“We got chatting and he’s super nice. Will I go to his show? If I get time I’d love to.”
Konta roared through the first set in 23 minutes, but Kasatkina, a top-10 player not so long ago, hit back as the Briton got frustrated with a couple of umpiring calls.
The 28-year-old was fuming after a Kasatkina forehand was called out, only for the umpire to overrule and award the point to the Russian.
She reached boiling point moments later when her own forehand was called out and overruled, only for the point to be replayed.
“We differed in opinions,” she added. “There was one game where he made two calls, I thought they were the same situation but he called them differently. That was basically it.”
Konta regained her composure, though, and secured the crucial break to lead 4-1 in the decider before completing an impressive victory.
“It was what I anticipated it to be,” said Konta. “I started well, but she was 10 in the world last year and I’ve lost to her the last two times we played.
“I enjoyed being out there, I enjoyed the difficulty of it.”
Konta is already Britain’s sole representative in the women’s singles after Harriet Dart bowed out.
Londoner Dart, who came through three rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw for the first time, lost 6-3 6-1 to Romanian Ana Bogdan.
“It was a difficult match and I think she played a pretty perfect match, I couldn’t really do much,” said Dart.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the result but I’ve got to keep moving forward.
“I played three great matches in qualifying to qualify for the main draw, I deserve my place here so I’m happy about that. Hopefully in the near future I can be in the main draw by my own right.”
Dan Evans became the first British male through after a four-set win over Adrian Mannarino of France.
The British number two, who reached the third round on his last visit to Flushing Meadows three years ago, triumphed 6-4 6-3 2-6 6-3 in a shade over three hours.
Cameron Norrie followed Evans onto Court 10 but could not follow his fellow Brit into round two.
The 24-year-old saved two match points before taking French qualifier Gregoire Barrere into a fifth set, and then twice served for the match.
But Barrere forced a tie-break and Norrie bowed out after a gruelling four-hour marathon, 7-6 (4) 6-4 4-6 6-7 (5) 7-6 (2).