Konta, Broady & Watson top and tail Hong Kong open action

 

By Ros Satar

  • Heather Watson v [Q] Marina Erakovic
  • Johanna Konta [3] v Naomi Broady
HONG KONG – The top three Brits in women’s tennis are all set to start and end the day’s action in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

 

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Heather Watson v [Q] Marina Erakovic (H2H: Erakovic leads 1-0)

The first round in Hong Kong pits two former doubles partners together, as  Watson tries to finish an up and down season with a flourish. She kicks off the day’s action in Hong Kong. For Watson, it is a chance to finish the season with some kind of positive upturn, with no other tournaments until she heads to Perth to play in the Hopman Cup for the third time, this time partnering Dan Evans.

It has been a frustrating time for the Brit. She was looking for her first ever US Open main draw win when she struggled with the heat and symptoms similar to when her career was struck low with the after effects of glandular fever. It has taken her a long time to climb back, and she has picked up a second WTA title this year, but even though it looked like she was over whatever had ailed her in New York, she struggled once more after battling her way into the Wuhan main draw.

Things have not been great for Erakovic either – a knee injury in 2015 closed down her season completely after she had to retire against Simona Halep in the first round of the US Open, and she has had to do the rounds of qualifying. She has had some success making the final in Rabat and managing three rounds at Wimbledon, but post grass and clay it has been a different story.

Both will know each other’s playing style very well and when Watson is on, she has a great balance of aggressive play with the ability to switch into very good defence. Erakovic has been a very competent doubles player so we can expect there to be a lot of movement around the court and can also play a good offensive game.

Prediction: Watson in three sets.

 

Johanna Konta [3] v Naomi Broady (H2H: Konta leads 2-0)

It was a big week for the efficient and now self-assured Brit No. 1. Where once she suffered from performance anxiety, she has learned to calm those nerves and play through the puzzles on court. She was out-puzzled though by Agnieszka Radwanska in her biggest final to date.

Not only that but her run to the final put her in the final berth for the Road to Singapore, but with the rest of the chasing pack all doing battle in Linz this is going to be an intriguing week.

The first time the pair met was four years ago in Eastbourne qualies, and was a tough affair but their most recent encounter last summer on the lower tiers was a far more straight forward affair for the British No. 1. It was at maybe the start of seeing her poise and the process really coming into its own.

Broady has not had a bad year either, deciding she would not want to receive a wildcard this year for Wimbledon and putting herself firmly in the Top 100 this year, earning her place as of right. She even came out on top of the battle of the Brits against a re-merging Laura Robson, back on the tour and working her way back up the rankings.

However – despite her clocking serve and heavy ground-strokes the edge has to go to Konta – her consistency and experience above all should see her through her compatriot well. She needs wins here, to keep pace with the chasing pack.

Prediction: Konta in two sets.

 

Watson and Erakovic are scheduled at 3pm (8am BST), with Konta and Broady scheduled not before 8:30pm (1:30pm BST).

 

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