By Ros Satar
- Johanna Konta  def. Ajla Tomljanovic [WC] 4-6 6-1 6-4.
- Faces  Elina Svitolina next – Svitolina leads head to head 2-0.
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – Johanna Konta faces a tough clash against Elina Svitolina for a spot in the Brisbane semi-final.
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Johanna Konta  def. Ajla Tomljanovic [WC] 4-6 6-1 6-4
It was another hard fought battle for British No. 1 Johanna Konta as she turned the tables on wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic in a taut three-setter. The Croatian, in the process of becoming an Aussie, was swinging freely and her aggressive start seemed to catch Konta by surprise.
Broken at the start of the match, it took a while for Konta to find her rhythm to get the break back, before the pair embarked on a run of six consecutive breaks of serve before Tomljanovic steadied the ship, serving out the first set to love.
Konta struck back immediately at the start of the second set, roaring out to a 5-0 lead and had to work for the leveller taking it on her third set point. First blood went to the Brit at the start of the decider, and having had a medical time out at the end of the second set, it started to look as though Tomljanovic was the one starting to tire, having to come through long service games before being rewarded with a break of her own as Konta was serving for the set.
Konta broke straight back to regain the advantage and then had to fend off three break points on her second try to serve for the match, taking it on her first match point.
As reported by BBC Sport, Konta said, after the match: “There wasn’t a lot in it so I’m glad I stayed tough to come through that,” the British player said. “It boosts the match fitness, every match is a battle.”
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Konta v Elina Svitolina  | H2H: Svitolina leads 2-0
There has been a lot to impress so far with Konta’s start to the season. Gone is the second-guessing and over-thinking we saw at the end of the year, and we are back to a far more aggressive game from the Brit.
This has been borne out with two very tough three-setters where she came from a set down on each occasion, and she will need every inch of that fight to overturn a losing streak against the No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina.
The Ukrainian has been a steady force in the rankings for a couple of years, but towards the end of the year, and most markedly at the WTA Finals, it just seemed to all catch up with her. Nothing was working for her in Singapore, and it looked to be a very disappointing end.
The pair have similar game styles – in fact the two matches Konta has weathered should stand her in good stead for this encounter. Maybe Svitolina is a little more solid with her ball-striking on the run and neither are particularly sold at the net, although they paired up for doubles here in Brisbane (losing in the first round)!
Konta has released some real howlers of drive volleys that she has been far more effective with in the past – perhaps rushing a little as she looked to reverse her slum in form since last summer.
What has been good is that she has resisted calling new coach Michael Joyce down especially after giving away the first set in her first two matches. She has kept calm and quite literally carried on.
This, however, will be a tough nut to crack. Svitolina can be metronomically consistent, and that can frustrate many. There is another three-setter on the horizon for sure, but this time it might just be a battle too far.
Prediction: Svitolina in three sets.
Konta and Svitolina are scheduled on Pat Rafter Arena not before 12:30pm (1:30am, GMT)
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