By Ros Satar, in Cincinnati

  • Johanna Konta [7] v Kiki Bertens
  • H2H: Tied at 1-1
CINCINNATI, USA – British No. 1 Johanna Konta finds herself once more leading the fray in the US, as she starts her Western & Southern Open campaign.

 

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Johanna Konta [7] v Kiki Bertens – H2H: 1-1

Once more this week, all British hopes rest with the British No. 1 Johanna Konta. With Kyle Edmund out in the first round of the Western & Southern Open with Heather Watson failing to progress from the qualifying rounds, it was a relaxed Konta who sparred with the press.

Amidst banter about social media, and things that make her chuckle, the very real business is at hand about getting match play ahead of the US Open. It was a pretty busy summer for the Brit. She was the figurehead in the lead-up events at Nottingham, Birmingham and her home tournament of Eastbourne, before going on a complete tear at Wimbledon reaching her second Grand Slam semi-final.

She told reporters in the All-Access sessions: “I went into those two weeks with already playing quite a few matches. I’d already accumulated quite a bit of fatigue in that sense, so in general actually Wimbledon itself wasn’t that much more exhausting. It was actually probably my least exhausting experience at Wimbledon so far, which is only a positive because hopefully I’ll get a chance to make it a full two weeks and then I’ll just feel fresh as a daisy by the end (laughing).”

A good long rest was needed between packing in so much into the still very short grass season, but while it was an early exit in Toronto, there was still a lot to take out of it

“Obviously I didn’t stay as long as I wanted to in Toronto. However I do take the good things from my match there. I played against a very in-form Ekaterina [Makarova], she had just come off the back of winning Washington so she was coming into that match with something that I didn’t have which was match routine, and getting those matches on the hard courts.

“I felt I actually did quite well compared to the fact it was my first match on the hard. I felt I played myself into that match quite well and competed pretty well. Obviously there’s things I would have wanted to do better but again I was one point away from coming through that match, so I didn’t do too much wrong.”

Next up in the final stop for the elite players before their preparations for the US Open is Kiki Bertens. The Dutch player is probably better known for her prowess on the clay. All her tour levels titles have come on the dirt, but the hard courts are not really always her friend.

That being said, Bertens eased into this match-up for the loss of just three games and reached a career high of No. 18 this year, so she is not to be underestimated. Despite not really coming together on the hard courts, she has a decent all-round playing style, with solid court coverage and high variability to her shots.

What Konta has in abundance though is an aggressive style of play, which once she gets a foothold in the point, can be hard to get past. What she needs is to convert on her chances to close out quickly.

Prediction: Konta in straight sets.

Konta and Bertens are scheduled on Stadium 3, not before 4pm (9pm BST).

Main Image: Photo by Andre Pichette/Epa/REX/Shutterstock 

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