By Ros Satar, in Indian Wells

  • Johanna Konta [11] v Caroline Garcia [21]
  • Konta beat Heather Watson in a Battle of the Brits
  • Relieved to have come through first match since foot injury
INDIAN WELLS, USA – British No. 1 and World No. 11 Johanna Konta lines up against Caroline Garcia in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in WTA Indian Wells.

 

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Johanna Konta [11] def. Heather Watson 6-4 6-4

 

It was a welcome return to the tour for the British No. 1 Johanna Konta, as she beat compatriot Heather Watson in straight sets in Indian Wells. It was a blow for Watson who had been gifted a place in the main draw after Alizé Cornet withdrew with an injury.

 

Heather Watson © Jimmie48 Photography

Heather Watson © Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

In fact the lesser ranked Brit, who has fallen out of the Top 100 now, started the better of the pair, breaking early for a brief lead. In fact even though Konta pegged her straight back, Watson just seemed the aggressor in the opening exchanges before a lapse of focus gave Konta a chance to break for her chance to serve out the match to love.

That lack of focus cost Watson dear, broken at the start of the second set, and although she mounted resistance from 1-4 down, it was just to little too late as a relieved Konta advanced.

She said, after the match: “It was my first one in a little bit. So I’m really happy to have gotten it under my belt. Get another chance to play again in a couple of days. I’m very happy about that. It’s not easy playing someone from your home country, so that added an extra dimension.

“I think there is definitely an adjustment period. I hadn’t played a tour match since the Australian Open and Fed Cup was about three weeks ago. It’s not that long of a time, but in terms of the tour, it’s a bit of time.

“I will definitely try to get better and better at as the tournament goes on, and hopefully I will get more opportunities to get more and more match fit.”

 

Konta [11] v Caroline Garcia [21] – H2H: Konta leads 2-1

Caroline Garcia © Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Now looking to focus more on her singles career, France’s Caroline Garcia has just a single back to back win to her name this year as she heads into the third round. She was relatively efficient against Lucky Loser Evgeniya Rodina but will want to try and string a few wins together.

Apart from a retirement on the clay of Madrid, Garcia has nit really been able to make much of a dent in Konta’s game ever since. Perhaps that’s a little surprising – the Frenchwoman has a pretty solid all-court game, with a decent serve, solid ground-strokes, spin and good feel at the net.

If anything that is the area where Konta can be vulnerable. While her drive volleys often deliver her winners, she lacks that kind of feel and subtlety at the net, and so we can expect the Brit to prefer to trade heavy blows with Garcia.

Of course where she most likely will excel is her mental ability to ride a storm in a match. We saw that as she wobbled to give Watson a chance to pick up a little pace, but effectively closed out the match. Would we even give Garcia a set? Probably not in her current form.

Prediction: Konta in straight sets.

 

BRITWATCH BREAKDOWN
WHO Johanna Konta [11] (GBR) Caroline Garcia [21] (FRA)
WHAT WTA Indian Wells Round 3
WHY & HOW Konta is defending R3 points, never been past the third round two previous attempts Also defending R3 points – previous best R16 in 2015
WHERE Stadium 2
WHEN 11am (6pm BST)

 

Featured Image: © Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

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