Konta faces tough rematch with Vekic in Wimbledon second round

 

By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon

  • Johanna Konta [6] def. Su-Wei 6-2 6-2
  • Faces Donna Vekic for second time on grass this season
LONDON, UK – Johanna Konta has another chance to get avenge a recent defeat as she faces Aegon Open champion Donna Vekic once more on grass.

 

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Johanna Konta [6] def. Su-Wei 6-2 6-2

It was a hardy win for British No. 1 Johanna Konta, as she opened her account on Court 1 on Monday, but there looked to be plenty of room for improvement. First of all though, the concern was whether there would be any residual after-effects after the heavy fall she suffered in the Eastbourne quarter-final.

Thankfully her movement seemed to be OK in a match that was more remarkable for the dreadful serving from her opponent Su-Wei Hsieh. It was no doubt a bad day at the office for Hsieh, who has won a doubles title here. That seemed a bit of a distant memory as she struggled to get to grips with Konta’s more aggressive game.

There were chances abandoned and taken by both players, as they traded three straight breaks of serve with Konta coming out on top of that exchange in the first set. Crucially she would break again at the end of the set before serving it out for a lead.

The period of adjustment on grass this season has sometimes left the Brit with a mid-match wobble, usually after taking the first set decisively but this time she put the pedal to the metal, breaking Hsieh twice in succession.

If there was a wobble, she failed to capitalise on two chances to break for the match, but more than made up for it by serving the set out to love to open her account at Wimbledon.

Konta assessed, after the match: “Quite honestly, I think I played a little bit better. I think I made it maybe a little tougher for her to get into the match. However, again, it doesn’t take much for there to be a momentum swing or for her to gain some more footing on the court.

“I knew that in the match, that it was going to be tricky till the very end. She’s quite a tricky player to play. She doesn’t give you too much rhythm. I was really just trying to stay as focused on what I was trying to do out there, and not necessarily get caught up in her web.”

 

Konta v Donna Vekic | Tied at 1-1

With the luxury of being in press while her next opponent was still battling it out in the cooling evening in Wimbledon, there was time to reflect on the chance of facing her in Nottingham.

Donna Vekic had a pretty unremarkable year at the start of 2017. Wins in qualification for tour events resulted in early main draw exits and her start to the grass court season could not have been more inauspicious as she fell in the first round of the lower-tiers ITF event in Surbiton, before flying back to Paris to watch Stan Wawrinka in the Roland Garros final.

Her season took flight though in Nottingham where she beat three seeds including top seed Konta in the final. Having soared when she was first on the tour, winning her first title in Tashkent at the age of 16, much was expected of the Croatian.

While she did back it up with a couple more titles, she seemed to flounder, and her nerves in Nottingham really showed as she over-pressed in the first set, allowing Konta to control proceedings.

She lifted her game, her serve improved, and Konta found herself all at sea, as they battled in two tight sets before Vekic found herself back in winning ways. Lessons Konta needs to learn – if Vekic brings that same level of serving, Konta needs to be sharp on the returns. This is winnable for her, and she ought to trust in her own serving.

They can both wallop a ball hard, so Konta will need to look to mix up the look Vekic gets of her ball – her game at the net can be hit and miss (literally) but her drive volleys pack a punch.

Konta is certainly up for the challenge: “That’s another great opportunity for me to play against someone who the last time I played a very good match. It’s another opportunity for me to try and find a way to come out on top this time.”

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

 

Who is Konta playing? Donna Vekic WR. 58 [CRO]
Head to Head? Tied at 1-1
What time is Konta playing & where? Centre Court, 1pm BST
Where/How to watch Konta’s match? BBC & Eurosport | Tennis on UK TV

 

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