By Ros Satar, in Birmingham
- Arrives after loss in Nottingham final to Donna Vekic
- Playing in all the warm up events up to Wimbledon
- Will start her campaign against Lesia Tsurenko
BIRMINGHAM, UK – Johanna Konta hotfoots it down the motorway from Nottingham to Birmingham where she starts her campaign on Tuesday.
Konta positive after Nottingham defeat
Having been the heavy favourite going into the week at the WTA International in Nottingham, the expectation seemed to catch up with her. After what looked like a routine first set, Donna Vekic lifted her level. Her serving improved and suddenly Johanna Konta was not as sure-footed while the momentum stayed with Vekic as she picked up her second career title.
As ever, Konta looks to the bigger picture, saying: “I’ve gone through things with my team. I think it’s not just the match yesterday. I think overall we assess how the week went and all the things that we felt that I did well and all the things I can do better and just, I think, as with every week, every tournament, every match, just looking to keep getting better from each one.”
‘Pretty sure that’s also a very good problem’
Konta was one of the first players the LTA committed into its summer schedule, now that the grass court season has fully established its extra week. With Europe offering Den Bosch and Mallorca, Nottingham became a very solid field, and ironically after the terrible weather of last year, Birmingham’s chance to establish itself as the Premier warm up was hit with a number of high profile withdrawals.
The draw could well open up now for Konta for another deep run, and with her home tournament of Eastbourne in the final week, it will test her fitness and her stamina completely, not that she saw that as an issue.
“I mean I train very hard to be able to withstand a lot of matches. But again, I think if we are at that stage, I’m pretty sure that’s also a very good problem.”
There is a lot to be said though for enjoying the home circuit. Every British player you speak to loves the four or so weeks they can spend back on home turf (literally) before retreating to the hallowed grounds of SW19, as Konta explained.
“I get a massive kick out of not having to get on a plane and just get to drive to events, just even from Nottingham down to here, just to put myself in the car, not have to pack a specific way to meet airline regulations or anything, just actually throw stuff in the car and drive 50 minutes and here I am at the next event, that’s pretty good.”
Konta  v Lesia Tsurenko | H2H: 1-1
First up for Konta in her busy schedule will be Lesia Tsurenko and she has every reason to feel confident about her chances, having beaten her most recently on grass last year in her home tournament of Eastbourne. Konta looked formidable throughout Nottingham but has been prone to slight dips in her concentration and that has been where she has proved most vulnerable.
What Tsurenko can offer with a decent serve and power is completely undone by her forehand which can be encouraged to break down and Konta will do well to target that side.
Prediction: Konta in straight sets.
|Who is Johanna Konta playing?||Lesia Tsurenko|
|Head to Head?||1-1|
|What time is Konta playing & where?||Aegon Classic, Birmingham
Not before 12:30pm BST
|Where/How to watch Konta’s match?||Eurosport 2 | Tennis on UK TV
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