Konta v Kuznetsova – Olympics Tennis R3 Preview

By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta (GBR) [10] def: Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-2 6-3
  • Faces Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) [8] – First meeting
  • Earlier – Elina Svitolina (UKR) [15] def. Heather Watson (GBR) 6-3 1-6 6-3
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – British No. 1 Johanna Konta was left to fly the flag alone in the women’s competition after Heather Watson was edged out of a tight three-setter.

 

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Johanna Konta (GBR) [10] def. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-2 6-3

Safe to say gone were the nerves in Konta’s opener on Sunday night as she started aggressively from the get-go against the Frenchwoman, whose timing seemed a little off at the start.

In fact Garcia opted to call for the trainer early in the first having been broken in the first game of the match, complaining of pain in her arm. She had cruised through her opening round, but after what turned out to be a stressful doubles exit, she looked frustrated and annoyed at herself almost throughout the entire first set.

Konta, on the other hand, was as cool as a cucumber as she edged up a double break cushion and never looked like she would be troubled.

Credit where it was due, Garcia’s level improved in the second set – ale to hold off a determined attack any Konta in the first game of the second set and saving three break points in the process.

Konta put pedal to the metal through breaking Garcia twice in a row, before the Frenchwoman managed to snap the run of games against her. However, Konta had the finish line in sight, breaking Garcia one more time for her spot in the third round.

 

Konta v  Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) [8] – First meeting

Kuznetsova was gifted a rest day as Romania’s Monica Niculescu withdrew handing the Russian a walkover, but in the kind of form Konta exhibited today, she could be a handful for the Russian.

The key as always will be to take the ball early and play aggressively. Kuznetsova has a lot of variety and good movement, with deft touch at the net.

Konta’s drive volleying has been good, but at times her touch at the net is not quite as adept and she might want to try and pull Kuznetsova around the court. The Russian, though can still be somewhat inconsistent and while we could see her start strongly, maybe getting the rug out from under Konta’s feet to start, the Brit’s calm demeanour should see her through.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

 

Elina Svitolina (UKR) [15] def. Heather Watson (GBR) 6-3 1-6 6-3

Sadly Konta will now be flying solo in the singles as her doubles partner was edged out in a tough three set battle. Against the 15th seed, this was always going to be a tough ask for Watson, and the Ukrainian was quick to break, jumping out to a 4-1 lead before Watson pegged her back on serve.

But for all that, Svitolina pulled ahead once more to take the first set. She did, however, fall away quite dramatically in the second set, with Watson forging ahead to level easily.

How different could things have been had Watson been able to take her break point chances but for a quick halt to the proceedings as she got a new dampener for her racquet. All it took, frustratingly, was one loose game for Svitolina to edge ahead, for the break. Watson did not relinquish any more chances on her serve, but it was enough to bow out in the second round.

Play continues on Tuesday.

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