US Open: Konta v Kvitova R4 Preview

By Ros Satar

  • Head to head: Petra Kvitova [5] 0-0 [Q] Johanna Konta
  • Konta on a 16-match winning streak since Wimbledon
  • Kvitova has not dropped a set through the tournament

New York, USA – Johanna Konta will bid for perhaps the biggest upset of her career when she takes on fifth seed Petra Kvitova in the night match on Ashe, in the US Open fourth round.

Konta’s progress has been nothing short of fairytale, as far as headlines go, but in truth a lot of hard work, dedication and work at improving her mental approach to matches is finally reaping its rewards. Konta fought her way through qualifying before stunning the Wimbledon finalist Garbiñe Muguruza [9] and then repeating the feat against 18th seed Andrea Petkovic – a Grand Slam semi-finalist last year at the French Open.

Now she looks to have lightning strike once more as she takes on one of only three of the top 10 seeds left. Kvitova has not always had a happy ride in the heat and humidity of the US Open, but has steamed through the first three rounds, despite having diagnosed with having mono at the start of the US hard court summer. This comes after having taken two months off the tour stating exhaustion. The diagnosis has affected how she prepares for matches, but given her troubles with asthma in the conditions, one has to wonder if that has actually helped her more than actually hinder her.

For both players the next round is uncharted territory – for Konta, this is her career best performance, and something that was being hinted with her runs off wildcards to the Nottingham and Eastbourne quarter-finals.

While British No. 1 Heather Watson was hitting the US Open Series as part of her build up to the US open, Konta opted to hit the ITF circuit again, starting off her winning streak and picking up two titles in the process, in Canada.

Konta will be on end of a barrage of heavy serving and hitting, so mixing up her game will be key. The big hitting leftie is solid of both wings but can be vulnerable if pulled off the baseline and that needs to be at the heart of Konta’s line of attack.

The Brit showed a few nerves in closing out her match against Petkovic, and will need to contend with playing in the monster that is Ashe, under the lights to boot. As the warm up act to Roger Federer though, the atmosphere may take some time to build up which could help Konta adjust to just the sheer size of the place.

Ordinarily I would say on paper it has been a tremendous run for Konta and that she should start taking time to start consolidating on a ride up the rankings that has taken her to within a whisker of nabbing the British No. 1 spot, and already into a career high. But Konta has proved that the paper may as well be thrown away – and Kvitova does have a tendency to wander off the map for a spell.

Konta and Kvitova are scheduled on Arthur Ashe Stadium at 7pm (12am BST, 8 September).

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