By Ros Satar, in Wimbledon

  • Johanna Konta [22] v Natalia Vikhlyantseva | First Meeting
  • Heather Watson v Kirsten Flipkens | H2H: Flipkens leads 2-1
WIMBLEDON, UK – Johanna Konta and Heather Watson have tricky starts to their Wimbledon 2018 campaign.

 

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Johanna Konta [22] v Natalia Vikhlyantseva | First Meeting

British No. 1 Johanna Konta comes into Wimbledon with a lot riding on her shoulders. Last year she stepped into the breach to carry the nation’s hopes after Andy Murray struggled out of the tournament with the hip injury that is still making its impact a year on.

This year though, Konta’s form has been slowly building back up after it and her confidence dipped after her Wimbledon run. She has started to look a little more like the Konta we remember from a couple of years back, but it is not the easiest of starts for the British No. 1.

Her aggressive style of play can be rewarded, especially on grass courts, but her opponent Natalia Vikhlyantseva similarly gets good results with a similar style of play, especially where the courts are playing fast.

The Russian’s best run was through qualifying at Eastbourne before bowing out in the first round of the main draw, so on paper Konta has looked to be a touch more consistent. Also, the benefit of experience ought to bring the Brit through, although she can go walkabout when playing someone for the first time.

Prediction: Konta in straight sets.

 

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Heather Watson v Kirsten Flipkens | H2H: Flipkens leads 2-1

Heather Watson in the first round of the Nature Valley International, WTA Eastbourne 2018

Heather Watson in the first round of the Nature Valley International, WTA Eastbourne 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

It has not been a great few months either for the current British No. 2 Heather Watson. She too has been searching for form and that all elusive confidence after what looked like a solid start to the year, but it feels like one step forward, two steps back for the Guernsey girl.

Kirsten Flipkens reached the Den Bosch final as part of her preparations for Wimbledon and comes into this encounter as the form player. Both have great court coverage and can call on their doubles skills to create angles and throw in a lot of variety into their game and in normal circumstances, this could be a tight knot affair.

Watson will need to be able to mix her aggressive best with her ability to snap back into more of a counterpunching mode to keep Flipkens guessing, but on her current run, Flipkens might just have too much for the Brit this time

Prediction: Flipkens in three sets.

 

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