Konta faces Azarenka as Watson falls in Wuhan

By Ros Satar
  • Johanna Konta faces Victoria Azarenka in the Wuhan second round
  • Heather Watson fought back but fell to Jelena Jankovic in three sets in the first round 6-3 2-6 6-3
  • Konta now the British No. 1 after Watson’s defeat

Wuhan, China – Johanna Konta will face Victoria Azarenka, having secured the British No. 1 spot, after Heather Watson was beaten by Jelena Jankovic 6-3 2-6 6-3.

Konta has been in extraordinary form since the grass court summer, where she made the most of the wildcards awarded in Nottingham (quarter-final), Birmingham (R2) and Eastbourne (quarter-final) before drawing Maria Sharapova in the first round of Wimbledon.

More than that she clocked 5 Top 20 scalps in that time, and chose to put two ITF hard court tournaments in ahead of the US Open, before blasting through qualifying and making it to the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.

It is a first meeting with the World No. 23 and that ranking does not befit her current form either, as she makes her way back up the rankings after injuries hit her 2014 season. The Belarusian is playing very strongly and has improved tournament by tournament over the summer, but she has not hit the court since the US Open, starting strongly over Lauren Davis, but pushed a little in the second set.

Konta has played some of the best tennis of her career this year, and has credited the use of a sports psychologist in her team for helping her deal with matches better, and it has really paid off. Sure, she still may get a little tight serving out for sets and indeed matches, but she does not dwell on points and moves on. She will be able to swing far freer than Azarenka who of course is expected to win, as the pair battle to potentially meet top seed Simona Halep in the third round.

For Watson, not only was she not able to capitalise on a great start over the Guangzhou champion Jankovic, after being a point within a 4-0 lead in the first set. Jankovic spun out the next six games on the trot to take the first set, before going off the boil, calling a medical time-out for her leg, as Watson fought back to level the match.

The decider was one way traffic to begin with for Jankovic, swiftly building up a 5-0 lead but Watson battled away saving four match points and winning three games in a row before Jankovic booked her place in the second round.

Konta and Azarenka are scheduled third on Court 1, not before 2pm (7am BST).

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