By Ros Satar
- Johanna Konta  def. Belinda Bencic  62 61
- Faces Anastasija Sevastova – H2H 1-0
NEW YORK, USA – Any doubts we might have had about Johanna Konta’s recovery after her alarming heat collapse in her second round were banished as she despatched Belinda Bencic in less than an hour.
Johanna Konta  def. Belinda Bencic  62 61
It would all come down to whether Konta had been able to recover after such a shock to her system – we think it is safe to say she did. The Brit put the Swiss 19-year-old under pressure at the start of the match forcing Bencic to save two break points, but the pressure was unrelenting.
Two swift breaks in succession saw Konta in the driving seat, playing with accuracy to counter the intelligent play we usually see from Bencic. In fact it started promisingly – Bencic looked to be moving Konta around as much as she could – to maybe provoke another extreme reaction but this time around she was very much in control.
Konta’s serving was on point and Bencic’s lack of match-play in an injury-marred year was beginning to show.
The longer the Konta onslaught went on, the less idea Bencic had as to what to try as the Brit broke at the start of the second set. In general when Konta gets a nudge ahead, she is proving very hard to shake off while Bencic leaked errors, going down for the gain of just one game in the second set.
Konta v Anastasija Sevastova – H2H 1-0
It has been a long time since this pair faced each other, in a Slam no less. Konta beat Sevastova in the first round of Australian Qualifying three years ago. In fact three years ago Sevastova retired that May with injuries and generally feeling disillusioned with the whole thing, before returning to the tour last year.
Since then she has shot back up the rankings in a manner perhaps not at all that dissimilar to Konta’s own speedy rise, starting the year unranked and finishing at 110 in the world, and is in the Top 50 now.
She has picked up quite a few back to back wins courtesy of battling through qualifying rounds at some of the bigger tournaments but she really hit the heights this year battling her way to the Mallorca final, where she lost to Caroline Garcia. Not bad for someone who probably would say she prefers clay and hard courts.
In the American hard court summer she came through qualies for a single win in the main draw of New Haven, and has not dropped a set on the way to the fourth round, as well as claiming the scalp of Garbiñe Muguruza in the second round.
We can expect some hefty ball striking. Both like to take the ball early and disrupt any rhythm on the other side. Konta will need to have her serving on point once more, and to keep advancing forwards to close down the court.
There was a worry that her Round two collapse would be on her mind, but she seems to have been able to train her considerable focus on just getting through a match at a time.
A lot has happened to and for both of them since they met three years ago. Recent experience of course puts Konta firmly in the position of favourite, but never count out what the confidence of a big win, and then backing that up with a place in the next round can do.
It would be no surprise at all to see Konta have to battle hard for this one.
Prediction: Konta in three sets.
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