By Ros Satar, in Madrid
MADRID, SPAIN – British No. 1 Johanna Konta will start against Magdalena Rybarikova as she looks for that elusive first win in Spain.
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Johanna Konta v Magdalena Rybarikova | H2H: Konta leads 1-0
Hopefully well rested from her Fed Cup singles victories which should have instilled a little confidence, British No. 1 Johanna Konta will start her campaign for a first win in Madrid against Magdalena Rybarikova.
Clay is certainly not the Brit’s strongest surface, and one could argue that outside the lower tiers of the tour, Rybarikova has not always racked up the wins here either although the Slovakian has at least got a little dirt under her heels this year with a couple of round in Stuttgart – her first at tour level since the French Open in 2016, thanks to a bad run of injury issues.
Konta has one solitary win against her on the grass in 2015, at arguably the start of her consistent rise up the ranks that blossomed in full force in 2016. Since then it has been a bit of a rocky road for the Brit, who is still adjusting to life with new coach Michael Joyce, but has high hopes that the former player’s insight will help her get some sharpness back.
In recent losses Konta has either been ahead and lost her way or just had a bad day at the office from the start and is in need of some solid points behind her with a lot to defend when the grass court season rolls around.
While she has a win over Rybarikova on the grass, it is a very different scenario on the clay and in Charleston (which is admittedly a very different style of clay from that I Europe) her steps looked tentative and uncertain at times in her loss to Fanny Stollar in her opener.
Now add to that the altitude and the balls flying, and this could be another tough match up for the Brit. Rybarikova likes to charge the net and while Konta can get on the end of a decent drive volley, she has lacked the finesse at the net at times and could find herself in trouble.
Prediction: Konta in three sets.
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