By Ros Satar
- Johanna Konta is on an unbeaten run since Wimbledon – Faces Louisa Chirico
- Laura Robson comes in on her Protected Rankings – Faces Elena Vesnina
- Action starts on Court 11
New York, USA – Johanna Konta and Laura Robson are back to back as they commence their US Open campaigns on Tuesday, Court 11.
Konta and Robson follow each other as the second day of play gets underway in New York, after Heather Watson was bundled out in the first round by American Lauren Davis.
Konta made the most of three wildcards during the Aegon tournaments in the grass court season to build up a head of steam, first beating two Top 100 players in Nottingham to reach the quarter-finals, and then claiming one more in Birmingham before losing to eventual finalist Karolina Pliskova, before collecting three more, including Top 10 scalp Ekaterina Makarova before losing to eventual champion Belinda Bencic in the quarter-final.
All this earned her the ultimate wildcard prize of a place in the Wimbledon main draw. OK, so drawing Maria Sharapova in the first round may not have been great, but she made the most of her opportunity to enjoy the experience.
The Brit was quite coy in Eastbourne about her future plans, and in the weeks leading up to the US Open, she opted for two ITF tournaments in Canada before the US Open qualifying rounds. Maybe that paid off, as Konta won two titles, snuck back into the Top 100 and kept her winning streak going in the qualifying rounds.
Of course we know better than to write off the chances of a lower ranked player, having seen Watson bundled out in a competitive tussle. The pair have never met before, and they really are not that far apart in the rankings, and as we said before, do not discount the power of an enthusiastic home crowd.
Chirico may not have as many match wins under her belt post-Wimbledon, where she failed to get past qualifying, but she has been mixing it up in the tour, in Florianopolis, Washington, Toronto, Cincinnati and New Haven. It may have only been qualifying rounds but it is a step up from ITF competition, so it remains to be seen whether the winning ways are what will make the difference.
Robson actually has a winnable chance against Elena Vesnina. The former British No. 1 has perhaps matured in her long break from the sport, with wrist surgery and subsequent recovery keeping her off the tour from the beginning of last year to her comeback in qualifying in Eastbourne. It was a tough start, getting just a game on the board, but performing infinitely better in her first round in Wimbledon. She has a couple of wins to her name, in an ITF tournament, and then a qualifying round new Haven.
She has never faced the Russian on the tour, but her singles ranking has taken a nose-dive and she’s more likely seen on a doubles court, having had success with Makarova but was struggling with a shoulder injury at the end of last year. She has picked up just one win (first round qualifying in New Haven) since losing to her former doubles partner at the French Open.
If Robson was in top form, this could be very winnable. With the Brit coming back to match sharpness and speed, this could well be another nervy affair, so prepare to gnaw those fingernails as we pin our hopes of British women advancing on one morning on Court 11.
Konta and Chirico are scheduled on Court 11 at 11am (4pm), followed by Robson and Vesnina. Follow the matches live via Britwatch Tennis Livescores.