By Ros Satar
- Johanna Konta set to be the new British No. 1, after starting her Wuhan campaign with a win over Andrea Petkovic 6-4 7-5
- Heather Watson kicks off her campaign against Guangzhou champion Jelena Jankovic
- Konta faces Victoria Azarenka in the second round
Wuhan, China – Johanna Konta carried on her fine form from the hard court summer with a win over Andrea Petkovic for a second tournament in a row, set to pip Heather Watson next week for the No. 1 spot when the rankings come out.
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Konta, who has been a revelation this summer, was too much for the World No. 17, who she beat for the second time in a row at the Wuhan Open, now having won 19 of her last 20 matches since losing in the first round to Maria Sharapova.
Watson also came through two rounds of qualifying, picking her first win in five matches since losing to (ironically!) Andrea Petkovic in Toronto. Snapping a four match losing streak and fighting her way into the main draw will hopefully stand her in good stead as she faces former World No. 1 and perennial WTA character Jankovic.
The Serbian swings more than a swing-o-meter in a general election, and this year has been her usual candid self as she has battled injury and pitched up some good runs to finals this year. Then again, she can bomb out in the most surprising ways – making the Cincinnati semi-finals before losing in the first round of the US Open.
Jankovic arrives with the Guangzhou title under her belt, and will look to counterpunch her way through Watson, who has tried to pick up the aggression in her game – but has always retained that ability to switch to more defensive styles if needed, rather than blindly sticking to something if it isn’t working.
Watson needs some good runs under her belt but has very few points to defend, having gone out in the first round of Wuhan last year as well. She will need to be at her tenacious best if Jankovic is feeling on form.
Meanwhile Konta will face Azarenka in another first time meeting. Although this was the Belarusian’s first match since the US Open, she met a little bit of resistance in the second set in her opener against Lauren Davis, but on paper and indeed in her form over the past few months, she could put a dent in Konta’s progress. But the Aussie-born Brit has gained new confidence in her game since bringing on board a sports psychologist into her team and plays a far more steadier game these days and could push Azarenka.
Watson and Jankovic are scheduled on Centre Court, not before 1pm (6am BST).