By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta secures her year-end spot in the Top 10 with her first win over Sam Stosur at the WTA Elite Trophy
  • She beat the Aussie 6-4 6-2 in her Round Robin opener in Zhuhai
  • Next up will be Caroline Garcia
ZHUHAI, CHINA – Johanna Konta returned to play for the first time since withdrawing in Hong Kong with an abdominal strain in fine form, with a straight sets rout over Samantha Stosur.

 

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Konta was quick off the mark in both sets – she broke Stosur twice at the start of the first set to build up a comfortable 4-0 lead, and the double-break cushion came in handy as Stosur got her first sniff of break point chances on the solid Konta serve.

In a mirror start, Konta once more broke the Aussie twice at the start of the second set, and this time there would be no respite for the former US Open champion. For Konta, it was a welcome return to the court after having to withdraw from her second round match in Hong Kong with an abdominal injury, which ultimately ended her WTA Finals hopes.

With no cushion of Luxembourg and Moscow in her schedule, Konta travelled out to Singapore and received her award for Most Improved Player in 2016 but had to sit out all the official photos while eventual eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova defended her Moscow title, and ultimately ran to the WTA Finals semi-finals.

Konta was required to stay as an alternate for the Round Robin stages and confirmed that her injury had healed well, and treated the week as a strong training week, and it paid off – now meaning she has her first Top 10 end this year.

 

Konta v Caroline Garcia – H2H: 1-1

The pair met for the first time this year in what proved to be Kota’s most barren part of the season. She had a difficult clay court season, and had to retire against Garcia in Madrid, before dominating the Frenchwoman on the slow courts of Rio at the Olympics.

Garcia can match Konta in terms of many aspects of her game – serve, power to her ground-strokes and probably has a little more variety up at the net given her doubles pedigree. Where she differs from the Brit though is that Konta has worked hard to keep her composure when things are turning the wrong way – the feisty Frenchwoman has been known to show her frustration when things are not going her way.

With both players on a win each, Konta will need to be dominating the Frenchwoman from the start if she wants to guarantee her place in the semi-finals as Garcia also got a straight sets win over Stosur – giving up one more game than Konta.

Prediction: Konta in two sets.

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