By Ros Satar
- Jelena Ostapenko  def. Johanna Konta 2-6 6-3 6-4
- Three thoughts ahead of Roland Garros
ROME, ITALY – Johanna Konta bowed out of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the hands of reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko as we assess her chances ahead of Roland Garros.
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Jelena Ostapenko  def. Johanna Konta 2-6 6-3 6-4
It certainly was a solid start by British No. 1 Johanna Konta. Her serving was on point, and she took full advantage of a slow-to-rouse Jelena Ostapenko as she jumped out t a 4-1 lead over the Latvian.
As is often the case, when Konta’s serve is firing, then all other aspects of her game seem to follow, as she closed out a comfortable first set.
Ostapenko picked herself up to strike with a break to love for a 3-1 led in the second set and kept hold of that advantage to the level things up and take the match into a decider.
The momentum stayed with the Latvian, with an immediate break at the start of the third set doing the damage. Konta had chances to break back to look to level at 4-4 but could not convert, leaving Ostapenko to close out the match.
Three thoughts ahead of Roland Garros on Konta’s form
Rome results have been consistent
For the third straight year, Konta has advanced to the third round in Rome, where the conditions differ a lot from the slick ice-rink quality of the indoor clay at Stuttgart and the altitude in Madrid. The conditions here are more suited to that which you find in Paris.
When the sun is beating down on the clay the balls will move quite quickly, but once the sun goes in or when the temperature drops the going can be quite heavy.
Confidence is returning
Little by little Konta’s confidence is returning. Although once more she missed out on getting a Top 10 win this season, with her last coming against the then No. 2 Simona Halep in Wimbledon, she is probably playing better to her current ranking, and the wins she is getting at this level show a little return to the fight we saw in her breakout season in 2016.
Movement is improving
When you compare her footwork and comfort levels on the dirt, they seem to have vastly improved. From the tentative steps in Charleston, where she admitted she had not had time to adequately prepare because f the impeding Fed Cup tie on hard courts.
She has been also been putting in time on the doubles court to improve both footwork and volleying. There is still some way to go, but Konta is very much a player invested in the process.
Of course a couple of wins in Madrid and Rome will not a clay court specialist make, but if the draw is kind in Roland Garros there is no reason why she cannot back herself to pick up a first main draw win.
Roland Garros takes place between 27 May to 10 June.
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