By Ros Satar, in Eastbourne

  • Johanna Konta [13] v Aleksandra Krunic
  • H2H: Krunic leads 1-0
EASTBOURNE, UK – Johanna Konta faces Aleksandra Krunic in her Eastbourne opener and will be keen to banish the memories of a first round US Open defeat.

 

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Johanna Konta [13] v Aleksandra Krunic | H2H: Krunic leads 1-0

There will be many things that British No. 1 Johanna Konta will want to forget about her first encounter with the nippy Serbian Aleksandra Krunic. Her loss at the US Open would herald a tail-off at the end of the year with no other match won since the third round of Cincinnati and it was not until the start of the season in Brisbane that Konta picked up another ‘W’ to her name.

In their last match Konta was her customary dominant self in the first set but Krunic found a way to frustrate the Brit, levelling up and then swinging free to take the match and after a couple of strong years in the Big Apple, Konta was out in the opening round.

 

READ MORE | Konta: Important not to ‘catastrophise’ as she & Watson are downed, but Edmund & Norrie advance on US Open Day 1

Konta: Important not to ‘catastrophise’ as she & Watson are downed, but Edmund & Norrie advance on US Open Day 1

 

Fast forward to the grass court season and Konta has slowly begin to find some confidence. Her run to the Nottingham final for the second straight year and the frustrations that boiled over against an over-ruled call show that there is still a strong (if somewhat misguided at the time) will to triumph and it was the sheer (bad?) luck of the draw that saw her face Petra Kvitova in her Birmingham opener.

Konta did not play badly but Kvitova is not a two-time Wimbledon champion for nothing and her affinity on the grass is something that in the end, Konta ended up admiring, she same as anyone else that faced her in Birmingham.

Krunic is quick and athletic around the court and what she lacks in power, she makes up for in precision, especially with her serve. What undid Konta in the US was Krunic’s anticipation and she can feed off the pace of the ball.

Konta will need to mix things up, which might mean a few more hair-raising volleys – her drive volleys are usually generally solid, but if Krunic brings her close to the net to dare her to finesse pick-ups at the net, the Brit could find herself in for a long afternoon. However in front of (literally) her home crowd, and with a need to rack up some points we anticipate it to be a successful one.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

 

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