By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [11] def. Annika Beck 6-1 6-2
  • Konta v Zhang Shuai in R2
  • Madison Brengle def. Heather Watson 6-3 2-1 Ret’d
WUHAN, CHINA – British No. 1 Johanna Konta sailed into the second round in Wuhan, setting up a rematch with Zhang Shuai, but Heather Watson bowed out with illness.

 

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Johanna Konta [11] def. Annika Beck 6-1 6-2

It certainly looked as though the British No. 1 Konta was back to her ruthlessly efficient self as she started her Asian swing in fine style, roaring past Germany’s Beck. First on the agenda was jumping out to a 3-0 lead, before Beck spurred herself to try and get a break back.

She made the Brit save three break points before losing her serve again. She was rewarded with some persistence, breaking Konta as she served for the first set, but still was unable to hold on to her serve at all in the first set, as Konta broke for the lead.

Beck was able to give Konta just the tiniest bit of pause, breaking her straight back after the Brit broke the German for the fifth, straight time. In fact Beck did not hold her serve once in the match, breaking Konta three times in total, before eventually succumbing.

 

R2: Konta v Zhang Shuai – H2H: Konta leads 2-1

One of the stories of this year’s Australian was Zhang’s first ever main draw win, swiftly backed up with a run to the quarter-finals. There she came up against Konta’s own fairy-tale run to make her first Grand Slam semi-final.

Their first two encounters were fairly close but at the Australian Open after a competitive first set, Konta ran away with the second and left Zhang standing. The home crowd favourite came out the winner in an all Chinese affair, after wild-card Peng Shuai struggled in the match with an injury, giving Zhang a route back in after dropping the first set in a tie-break.

In her current form, Konta looks set for another win – when she is hitting the ball cleanly and is given time on the ball to dictate, she can run away with a set before you know what’s hit you. Zhang will have to maybe shift from the baseline to make a dent.

Konta has made her drive volley a powerful weapon although sometimes her volleys can be a little hit or miss, but she will play aggressively.

Prediction: Konta in two sets.

 

Madison Brengle def. Heather Watson 6-3 2-1 Ret’d

After having had to play twice in a day to make the main draw it was a disappointing, if not worrying end for Watson. Going down an early break to Brengle, she received medical attention on court, after feeling dizzy before retiring early in the second set.

She had a similar looking issue at the US Open, where the symptoms mirrored those when she was recovering from glandular fever, which derailed her career for a time. Prior to Wuhan she had told reporters that the tests had come back fine, and had unveiled her new coaching arrangement with John-Laffnie de Jager.

 

Konta and Zhang are scheduled on Centre Court, not before 7pm (12pm BST).

 

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