By Jake Davies

  • Johanna Konta [11] vs Kirsten Flipkens
MIAMI, USA – Johanna Konta big title defence starts with an opening match against Kirsten Flipkens in Miami.

 

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Johanna Konta [11] vs Kirsten Flipkens H2H: Konta leads 3-1

The last few weeks have been difficult for British No.1 Johanna Konta as she will be itching to gain some match wins of note this week at the Miami Open. Konta has only managed to win the one match since a decent showing at the Qatar Open in Doha last month and suffered another setback in her defeat to Marketa Vondrousova in the second round of Indian Wells.

Konta does look at the positives, even in the most difficult and stunning of defeats and will still have belief in herself that she can pull off a good run of form at the 2018 Miami Open, a tournament which she went all the way and became the first Brit to win a title of that magnitude since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon 40 years prior.

 

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Konta reflects on early Indian Wells exit ahead of Miami defence ‘I do trust in my ability and game’

 

That week was special for Konta, beating three top 20 players in Simona Halep, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki back-to-back and will be hoping she can put together a similar run this time around, although she would have preferred to have had an accumulation of meaningful victories under her belt coming into this event.

Up first for Konta is Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens, who certainly can adapt to the different conditions and the different speeds of surfaces that you often see on the different hard courts on tour. She possesses an all-court game, where she likes to rush her opponent with her big forehand and serve, while mixing up the paces of the rally with her backhand slice. Flipkens very rarely hits over the top of her backhand, but is one of a select few that exclusively slices off that side non-stop.

I think I’d give the edge to Konta even with the lack of matches she’s had in the 2018 season. Flipkens will try to upset the rhythm of Konta from the baseline by bringing her forward on her own terms and really testing the Brit’s feel and touch in and around the forecourt, which is an area that Konta has struggled with over the years. If Konta can play a clean and authoritative match then I can see her winning in straight sets here.

Prediction: Konta in two sets.

 

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