By Ros Satar
- Johanna Konta  v Yanina Wickmayer
- Heather Watson v Polona Hercog
MONTERREY, MEXICO – Johanna Konta and Heather Watson return to action at the Abierto Monterrey Afirme as they bid for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules
Johanna Konta  v Yanina Wickmayer – H2H: Konta leads 1-0
In what has been a great start for the Brits so far, British No. 1 Konta kicks things off in Monterrey when she takes on Belgium’s Wickmayer. She ought to feel confident too – they met just last year in an ITF 100K event where Konta won handily in straight sets.
Konta’s grounded attitude has got her through a slow start to the year which of course culminated in her great run to the Australian Open semi-final, but is in need of her first back to back win since then. She started well in Acapulco, and lost a tough three setter to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni last week where she also picked up the fourth seeding there.
We can credit her Spanish team with helping to develop her improved second serve and her backhand, which now complements her forehand. Although a lot is made of Konta’s coolness in pressure situation, this should stand her in good stead when she faces Wickmayer’s attacking baseline play.
Wickmayer is a strong candidate to nab at least a set – good on hard courts with flat attacking ground-strokes and a strong forehand, her inconsistencies could really undo her and if Konta can move her around, her lack of variation could be shown up.
Heather Watson v Polona Hercog – H2H: Hercog leads 2-1
Watson snapped her three match losing streak with a tough battle against Misaki Doi, which should give her some confidence. Hercog and Watson have split their wins on hard courts over their career meetings, although Hercog picked up the most recent win over the Brit, last year on clay.
Hercog has also been on the losing end of a stream of matches this year, only just picking up first round wins this year in Rio and in Monterrey.
Still, Watson was in need of getting that confidence that comes with closing out tough matches, and this could well be another battle. The pair are separated by three places in the rankings. Watson does have some pep on her serve these days, as part of her trying to introduce a more aggressive aspect to her game, but her strength is her agility and she knows when to change things back to a defensive play if things are not working.
Hercog has a decent first serve and a powerful forehand and some good variety so we could be in for another three setter, but if Watson can dig in like she did in the decider against Doi and its switching momentums, she might just continue her track back up the rankings this week.
Konta and Wickmayer are scheduled on Cancha 1 at 1pm (7pm GMT), Watson and Hercog are scheduled on Cancha 1, not before 4:30pm (10:30pm GMT).