By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [15] v Shelby Rogers
  • Garbiñe Muguruza [3] v Naomi Broady [Q]
  • Simona Halep [5] v Daria Gavrilova
MONTREAL, CANADA – Day Two and two Brits – Johanna Konta & Naomi Broady, lead the British charge in our Three to See.

 

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Johanna Konta [15] v Shelby Rogers – H2H: Konta leads 1-0

The big question is can Konta’s landmark win of her first WTA title (and a Premier to boot) be put aside as she continues to build her preparations not just for the US Open, but also more immediately the Rio Olympics?

We have seen it before – the adrenalin and excitement of such a landmark win can take the wind out of a player’s sails and they stumble in the next round. Konta has worked hard on a positive mental attitude, and to be honest even if she did fall in her opener, she would take it in her stride.

Yet the weight of expectation now will get heavier, the more successful she is the more she will be expected to breeze past players like Rogers.

They last played four years ago in the lower tiers of the tour in Lexington, an ITF circuit event, where Konta prevailed in straight sets.

If her serving and aggression on court is anything like it was against Venus Williams in Stanford, she ought to expect another strong win, but it is a quick turnaround – although she is a seed, she does not get a bye into round two.

Prediction: Konta in straight sets.

 

Garbiñe Muguruza [3] v Naomi Broady [Q] – H1H: Muguruza leads 1-0

There is a distinct pattern here – as with Konta and Rogers, this pair have meet back in the lower tiers (Wrexham, 2011) with Muguruza pushed hard in the first set before closing out a straight sets win.

It has been a rum old time for Muguruza after winning her maiden Slam at the French Open. She was the headliner at her home tournament in Mallorca, but crashed out in the opening round, before the 2015 Wimbledon finalist exited in the second round at SW19.

She comes into this extremely match-shy while Broady came through a tough qualifying final and a solid win over Monica Puig in her opener late last night in a rain-sodden Montreal. Twice she has come back from a set down, and there is ever likelihood she will need to do another three setter.

Both are solid hitters, but Broady has the benefit of some confidence behind her, and this is not an easy looking opener for the Spaniard.

Experience ought to pull her through, but this is a great opportunity for Broady to spring an upset.

Prediction: Muguruza in three sets.

 

Simona Halep [5] v Daria Gavrilova – H2H: 1-1

So much potential drama in Tuesday’s order of play, and while it was so tempting to go with Alizé Cornet and Andrea Petkovic, we settled on a tight head to head that could really go either way.

Halep is a conundrum. We have watched her grow from a shy, almost robotic answering player to someone who can joust and joke with the press while telling us what she thinks we want to hear. She wants to win, she wants to enjoy her time on court, and we know she can get the results.

Last year she seemed a bit lost, and this year the Slams have continued to be a little disappointing, and her only titles thus far have been on the dirt of Madrid and Bucharest.

Maybe the home tournament win has actually given her back a little confidence, along with a decision to withdraw from Rio, which hopefully lends itself to her preparation for the US Open and defending semi-final points.

Gavrilova had a strong start to her campaign with a comfortable win over Annika Beck, and a lot will come down to how quickly Halep can make the adjustment from the clay to the hard, and her will to win.

As a qualifier in Indian Wells last year, Gavrilova put eventual champion Halep on the back foot in the Romanian’s opener, taking the first set off her, before Halep figured out how to handle her. It did not put the Aussie off, who went on to beat Maria Sharapova in Miami.

She has a strong sense of belief that she can give the top players a bloody nose, and this should be no different. Yet we want to see Halep really start living up to seeding and making some solid preparations for a tilt at a first Slam title.

Prediction: Halep in three sets.

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