By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [15] def. Varvara Lepchenko [LL] 6-3 6-2
  • Faces Kristina Kucova [Q]
MONTREAL, CANADA – Britain’s Johanna Konta continues to roll on, breezing past Lucky Loser Varvara Lepchenko, and next up is qualifier Kristina Kucova.

 

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Johanna Konta [15] def. Varvara Lepchenko [LL] 6-3 6-2

Konta has benefited the most from the early reshuffling of the draw following Serena Williams’ and Garbiñe Muguruza’s withdrawals, which blew apart the seedings at the top of the draw.

But add to that her consistency, focus and the inevitable confidence that has come with winning her first title, and the Konta bandwagon keeps rolling.

As is her wont, she struck early in the first set against the American, swiftly jumping out to a 3-0 lead, before putting Lepchenko under pressure once more on her serve, bringing up two set points but not able to break for a one-set lead.

Closing out the first set, the momentum was firmly with Konta, as she broke Lepchenko straight away, and struck once more to build up a commanding 4-1 lead. Lepchenko would get just one more game on the board before Konta sealed passage to her second straight semi-final in as many weeks.

 

Konta v Kristina Kucova [Q] – First meeting

Into the unknown for Konta next, but take nothing for granted. Enjoying a fairy-tale run at Montreal is the World No. 121 Kucova, who ended hone-crowd favourite Eugenie Bouchard’s run at her home tournament.

She had to work hard for it though, losing the first set against the Canadian, but three set matches are nothing for this player – she has had to come from behind in all her main draw matches here, having pretty much sailed through qualifying in straight sets.

Konta is currently on a seven match winning streak since losing to Bouchard at Wimbledon, and has expended far less energy but Kucova has a fighting spirit and latent fitness which means she will not be fading away on the court anytime soon.

As reported by WTATennis.com after perhaps the biggest win of her career, Kucova said:

“It’s unbelievable, I’m very happy. Also I’m very tired. But it’s a very good feeling. This is my best moment so far in my tennis career.

“I must give credit to my fitness coach because I feel very good on the condition preparation. I changed fitness coach in the beginning of the year. We worked very hard.

“I feel now on the court that when it’s coming to the third set, I still have energy for that.”

There is a lot at stake for both players – This time last year, it was Konta working her way up through the ranks, and now she is knocking on the door of the top 10, with Kucova set to beak the Top 100 after this week.

Konta has shown since the start of the year that she has the calmness and resolve to work puzzles out on court. The Slovakian is a former junior US Open Junior Singles champion but as many find, the transition can be tricky.

Kucova can expect aggressive play from Konta which has proved particularly effective this hard court swing, and may well have to mount one of her come-backs, but perhaps experience will finally have her beat.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

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