Australian Open 2017 | Clinical Konta breezes into fourth round

 

By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

  • Johanna Konta [9] def. Caroline Wozniacki [17] 6-3 6-1
  • Faces Ekaterina Makarova [30] – H2H: Konta leads 3-0
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Johanna Konta continues to impress as she swept aside Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets for the loss of just four games.

 

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Johanna Konta [9] def. Caroline Wozniacki [17] 6-3 6-1

If Johanna Konta had been clinical in her final against Agnieszka Radwanska, she was almost ruthless in a third round encounter with two-time Slam finalist and former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.

We all knew that Konta could be made to run by the Dane who usually prides herself in being able to run everything down on the way to grinding her opponents down, but Konta had the measure of her from the start. She would yank Wozniacki left and right before moving forward for the kill, and the break was ample reward for the pressure she was putting on her.

If the first set was ruthless, we could only describe the second set as brutal. Backing up the momentum of the first set with a strong start, Konta set about dismantling Wozniacki effectively, making solid use of the shadows coming across the court, and we can forgive her the wayward overheads as she ploughed through the scoreboard.

Wozniacki’s strength is her ability to switch from defence to attack but was strangely passive, almost as though she was waiting for Konta’s level to drop – much like Radwanska who said as much in her post match press conference after losing to her in the Sydney final.

Let this be a lesson to the locker-room – Konta can play at this level and she can keep it up. If there were any doubts she would be able to back up her rise to the Top 10 they were pretty much answered today.

To be fair to Wozniacki – she did not do much wrong even in her defensive tactics, but Konta just had all the answers, breezing through the match for the loss of just four games.

Konta assessed her performance after the match: “I was very happy with I guess the way I was able to assert myself from the very beginning, also tighten up my game a bit as that first set went on, and just maintain my level to the very end.

“Against someone like Caroline, she’s not going to give it to you. You really do have to earn it and win it till the very last point. I’m just very happy I was able to keep that pressure on.”

 

Konta v Makarova [30] – H2H: Konta leads 3-0

Her reward will be another match up with Ekaterina Makarova – again this felt like a real watershed moment for Konta last year where she had to come from a set down to book her place in quarter-final in her run last year, beating the Russian 8-6 in the deciding set.

Makarova seems to really come to life on the courts of Melbourne – she scored an impressive victory over WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova and will be wise to Konta as they meet again on the Melbourne blue, and she made the semi-finals in 2015.

She said, of her Russian opponent: “Every time we play, we have a battle. I think last year was 8-6 in the third. Actually we played out on Margaret Court. I remember that was a high-level match from both of us. That was really a great match to be a part of.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge, the battle again. She had a great match against Dominika. [She] is not an easy player to beat, and she was able to do that. She’s playing obviously great tennis.

“I think she really enjoys playing here. She always seems to do well on these courts. I’m looking forward to it. “

If Konta’s serving is on point again she can rely on some free serves, but she really ought to do a lot of practice on her overheads after some total shockers that perhaps a more in-form Wozniacki would have punished her for. Makarova has a solid serve and good groundstrokes so we should settle in for a day of battering the poor yellow fluffies, but if Konta can exploit Makarova’s weakness, then she has a good chance ot dishing out a defeat double at this stage – and even better perhaps set up a possible tantalising quarter-final with Serena Williams.

 

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

 

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