By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [6] v Fanny Stollar [Q]
  • Konta beat the Hungarian earlier this year to secure Britain’s place in the Fed Cup World Group II play off.
  • Taylor Townsend def. Heather Watson in a messy affair
CHARLESTON, USA – With Heather Watson falling in a frustrating opener, Johanna Konta gets her campaign underway against Hungarian qualifier, Fanny Stollar.

 

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Johanna Konta [6] v Fanny Stollar [Q]

British No. 1 Johanna Konta returns to the green clay of Charleston for the first time in seven years, and takes on Fanny Stollar in the second round of the Volvo Car Open. In the round-robin tiers of Fed Cup, Konta was in impressive form against Stollar, as Britain secured their place in the World Group II Play-offs, for the loss of just four games.

She faces the young Hungarian on the less sure surface of quick green clay, where Stollar has already picked up four wins, and is match sharp on this surface. While Konta has been short of tour match wins, Stollar is coming in off a run to the Toyota $25K semi-final and then these four matches in Charleston.

Konta certainly has the experience to come through this with all guns blazing, but it does depend on her serve firing well, her movement and adaptation to an opponent she has only faced once.

Konta as slipped out of the World Top 20 as a result of not defending her Miami Open title, and with not many points to defend on the clay, there is the chance to make up some ground. The clay here is quicker than in Europe which ought to help Konta’s more aggressive game, not to mention getting to grips with the movement on the slick surface.

We can expect a bit of a rollercoaster as the Brit is also searching for a little confidence. While a more confident Konta would be expected to breeze through this in straight sets, this could be a bit more of a battle.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

 

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Taylor Townsend def. Heather Watson 6-3 6-4

A seventh tour loss for Heather Watson came after a frustrating affair against Taylor Townsend as both players lacking confidence swiped it out on court. The first set saw seven successive breaks before Townsend finally held, before twisting the knife by breaking the Brit for the set.

Things were only marginally better with just a brace of breaks before finally it looked as through the momentum was siding with Watson as she broke and held for a 4-2 lead. Yet some costly errors from her opened the door for Townsend to level, before she broke once more for the match, in a what had become a war of attrition.

It is difficult to know what is next for Watson. She looked at times as if she was in between game plans, with her mother out here for coaching duties this week. Aside from her victories for GB in Fed Cup, Watson last tasted victory in Hobart at the start of the year, and is lacking in confidence.

Clay is not exactly her best surface, and last year Watson dropped down to the ITF circuit in the run up to Roland Garros, where she bowed out in the final round of qualifying.

Her next scheduled event is in Prague, which takes place between 30 April to 5 May.

 

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