By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta v Ashleigh Barty [16]
  • Barty leads the H2H 2-1 including the Nottingham final earlier this year, as well as beating Konta here last year.
WUHAN, CHINA – Johanna Konta continues to try and pick up points in the tail end of the season, but comes up against a tough competitor in Ashleigh Barty.

 

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Johanna Konta v Ashleigh Barty [16] | H2H: Barty leads 2-1

This time last year, British No. 1 Johanna Konta was struggling to find any kind of form following a great summer on the grass. She picked up one round extra in Tokyo last week but came unstuck against an inspired Donna Vekic.

Ashleigh Barty in the second round of Roland Garros, 2018

Ashleigh Barty in the second round of Roland Garros, 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Things do not get any easier for the Brit, as she faces Ashleigh Barty in her opener again for the second year in a row, although as an unseeded player, she does not have the benefit of a bye.

Last year’s encounter saw Konta fight back from a set down, having not managed to get a game on the board, before taking the second set and being edged out in a tiebreak. It was a similar pattern to their last match in the Nottingham final which ended with Konta fraught at some of the line calls.

Barty comes in with some decent form, reaching the semi-final in Montreal, and the fourth round of the US Open and, like Konta, a win in Tokyo. Konta failed to really capitalise on Vekic’s low first serve percentage and threw away a commanding 4-1 lead in the second set before losing in straight sets.

Barty’s all court game works well against Konta with tricky serves and her forehand which gives her angles, pace and spin. She has variety by the bucket-load and will certainly keep Konta on her toes.

If Konta’s serve is working, we find the rest of her game falls into line, but once more it is a tough opener in a class field in Wuhan, and perhaps too soon in her attempts to turn around her fortunes this season.

Prediction: Barty in three sets.

Konta & Barty are scheduled on Centre Court, not before 3:30pm (8:30am BST).

 

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