Konta rolls into Miami R3, Edmund falls to Djokovic

By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [24] def. Danka Kovinic 6-4 6-2
  • Faces Elena Vesnina in R3 – H2H: Vesnina leads 1-0
  • Novak Djokovic [1] def. Kyle Edmund 6-3 6-3

MIAMI, USA – British No. 1 Johanna Konta joined Heather Watson in round tree of the Miami Open, but Kyle Edmund fell to defending champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Despite losing her opening serve at the start of the first set, Konta broke Danka Kovinic straight back and from that point, never looked in danger of that happening again as she pushed through the first set, and then dominated in the second set.

Kovinic put up a great fight saving two set points in the first set, before Konta went ahead to serve the first set out to love. Konta would break her twice in the second set, but again did her best to fend off the Brit, saving three match points before Konta closed out a straight sets win 6-4 6-2.

As reported by the BBC in Miami, she said after the match: “It was much closer than the second set score showed. We had a lot of deuce games, a lot of back and forth.

“She’s been pushing some of the best players in the world to quite the limit in the last couple of weeks, so I was really happy how I was able to compete against her.”

 

Johanna Konta [24] v Elena Vesnina – H2H: Vesnina leads 1-0

Elena Vesnina recorded a fine win over Venus Williams, and the last time she met Konta over the net was four years ago in Eastbourne. A lot of things have changed for both players. Konta’s run is not as immediate in 2016 as it may seem.

Keen observers saw the groundwork beginning to pay off in the grass court season of 2015 with a quarter-final run in Eastbourne. Although she drew Maria Sharapova in the first round of Wimbledon, her new found confidence saw her come through qualifying to make the fourth round of the US Open last year – six wins in a row.

Her win over Williams at the start of the Australian Open has seen her rise up the rankings into the Top 25 for the first time since Jo Durie in 1987, and she looks set to continue chasing and indeed surpass Durie’s records.

Vesnina has twice been in the Top 30 but in recent years has been slipping back down the rankings, ending just outside the Top 100 at the end of 2015, but seems to be back on a decent run of form despite a gap between Doha and Indian Wells, where she lost in the first round of qualifying at Indian Wells.

However, she has had plenty of time to get used to the conditions in Miami, coming through qualifying and looked very sharp against Williams.

Even though on paper this should be a breeze for Konta, we can expect Vesnina to push her hard this week. Her variety and ball placement have been real strengths for the Russian and we can expect her to try and pull Konta out of position.

Konta has shown that her resolve in tough matches is rock solid. It would be no surprise to see this go the distance.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

Novak Djokovic [1] def. Kyle Edmund 6-3 6-3

This was always going to be a tough ask for the British No. 3 but what impressed was his resolve. With Novak Djokovic jumping out to a 4-0 lead it would have been easy for Edmund’s head to drop, but instead he broke the World No. 1 and defending champion back and hung in, even saving a set point in the first set.

Even when he lost his serve early in the second set, he dug in and fired back, saving four break points, making Djokovic earn his advantage, before being broken at the end for Djokovic to advance in straight sets.

Afterwards, Djokovic had praise for Edmund, as reported by the BBC. Commenting on his strength and his clubbing forehand, which is becoming a formidable weapon, he said: “He definitely does have the potential to step up and get himself to the top of the men’s game.

“How far he can really go, that depends on him and the people around him. But having Andy Murray as someone who can mentor him is a great advantage for Kyle.

“I’m sure he’s using that wisely and he has a lot more time in front of him, but he has learned a lot so far.”

Edmund, also talking to the BBC after the match, said: “He’s always there constantly, every point. He doesn’t give you many cheap points. That’s why he’s so tough to beat.

“It’s one thing watching on TV but now to actually experience it you can see why.”

On Saturday the British No. 1 Andy Murray starts his campaign for a third Miami title, along with Aljaz Bedene and Heather Watson on the schedule.

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