By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

  • Johanna Konta [9] v Kirsten Flipkens
  • Head to head – Konta leads 2-1
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Fresh off her success in her birthplace of Sydney, Johanna Konta returns to Melbourne to fly the flag for Britain as she kicks off her Australian open campaign.



Johanna Konta [9] v Kirsten Flipkens – H2H: Konta leads 2-1

Britain’s Johanna Konta returns to Melbourne where many feel was her breakthrough. In Slam terms it was but it was a long time in the making – the grass roots had literally been sowed in the grass court season and was backed up with a run to the fourth round, and she even had a faltering start to 2016 in the warm-up events before coming good Down Under.

What a difference a year makes. Now the Brit is in the Top 10 and has started the year like she means to go far further. She finally got some match wins under her belt in the season opener in Shenzhen, and eased to the Sydney title – so is this match win, or match fatigue?

Talking to the press before the event, she said: “I’m obviously very pleased with my performance last week. Also just I felt my ability, that I was able to just keep getting better with every match that I played. I was definitely pleased with that.

“Obviously to have beaten a player like Aga, I’m definitely very pleased with the level I played.

“But we all know that it’s not a given. It doesn’t decide how you will do in the next event. I’m taking it as a positive from the week itself, but I’m looking to, again, work hard here and really try to do the best that I can here.”

So far her new collaboration with Wim Fissette has gotten off to a solid start.

“I’m enjoying learning from him. He comes with just an incredible amount of experience on the tour with some of the best players in the game. I think I’m really keeping my ears open and trying to be a sponge, really just trying to absorb as much as I can from him.

“I think he’s a very calm individual, but he’s also quite funny. So far we’re having a good time.”

Konta won against Flipkens on the lower tiers of the ITF tour, but first blood WTA Tour-wise went to the Belgian, in Monterrey last year.

Konta continued: “I played her last year in Monterrey. She beat me there. I’m looking forward to the challenge, the opportunity to play her again. She’s a great player. She’s a Wimbledon semi-finalist, I believe. She’s been around the tour for a long time. That’s by no accident. So I really am looking forward to the challenge.”

Flipkens was indeed a Wimbledon semi-finalist in her breakthrough first Top 20 season in 2013, but since then has dropped first to the Top 50, and at the end of last year just inside the Top 100. She has a solid doubles pedigree and Konta can expect to be moved around and sliced and diced by the Belgian.

Konta’s game is, when it is firing on all cylinders, sharp and aggressive and she will look to take command and shorten the points where she can, to prevent Flipkens from finding any kind of a rhythm.

Prediction: Konta in two sets.



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