By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta def. Elise Mertens [7] 6-3 7-5
  • Faces Daria Gavrilova in the second round | H2H: Konta leads 2-1
  • Late finish for the Aussie, who finished around midnight in Moscow
MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Johanna Konta pulled off a solid win against No. 7 seed Elise Mertens, and faces feisty Daria Gavrilova in the second round.

 

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Johanna Konta def. Elise Mertens [7] 6-3 7-5

It is a period of change of for British No. 1 Johanna Konta as she switches management agents, is trialling a new coach and looks to close out her season with a little bit of success. She certainly managed the latter as she took out the No. 7 seed Elise Mertens in a solid display.

Elise Mertens at the Australian Open, 2018

Elise Mertens at the Australian Open, 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

It started well for the Brit as she broke before the first changeover, and the match stayed competitive until Mertens rallied a little to put Konta’s serve under pressure. However, the Belgian could not convert, and Konta broke to love to seal the first set.

Mertens brief rally was enough to change the tide of the game =, breaking in the first game of the second set. It was highly competitive tennis from both, with Konta stepping up her aggressive play to break to love to level up at 4-4, before consolidating to go ahead for the first time in the second set.

From there Mertens looked on the back foot, and it felt inevitable that Konta would ride out the storm, delivering another break to love to advance.

 

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Konta v Daria Gavrilova | H2H: Konta leads 2-1

Konta had a nice early finish at a joint tournament shared with the ATP, and perhaps benefits as Daria Gavrilova’s passage into the second round ended around midnight, leaving the young Aussie around 17 hours to recover.

Konta’s wins over Gavrilova have both been straight sets, with her loss to the Aussie coming on clay at an ITF event. Gavrilova’s form over the year can best be described as steady. She started the year well but did not get into any kind of groove in the US hard court swing, She has looked a lot stronger in the Asian swing with the quarter-final in Hong Kong so arguably comes in with a little more form.

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Gavrilova has a decent serve and a pretty potent forehand, that should mesh well with Konta’s own aggressive style, but the Aussie can often let her emotions get the better of her and we have seen her mental attitude crumble as she gets hung up on what her opponent is doing, rather than make adjustments to her own game.

Konta tends to be a more steady and less demonstrative player, and again if her serve is working well, the rest of her game tends to follow suit. Her aggressive play will most likely see the paid trading heavy blows from the back of the court, but a little confidence (and a longer rest) might go a long way.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

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