By Ros Satar, in Eastbourne
- Johanna Konta  v Sorana Cirstea [LL]
- Cirstea very strong in her criticism of Konta during the Fed Cup tie
EASTBOURNE, UK – Johanna Konta will face a fierce critic in Sorana Cirstea when she opens her Aegon International account.
Johanna Konta  v Sorana Cirstea [LL] | H2H: Konta leads 1-0
The British No. 1 and literal home-town favourite Johanna Konta has a tough start in terms of history when she faces Sorana Cirstea for the first time since the ill-fated Fed Cup tie in Romania. There she had to leave the court in distress after the Romanian crowd reacted badly to the removal of Team Captain Ilie Nastase after firing verbal abuse at Anne Keothavong and Konta.
As it was, Konta weathered the storm of her emotions and the crowd to beat Cirstea in straight sets, which did nothing to lighten the Romanian’s mood. In her favour she has already had a couple of matches on the courts here, falling in the second round of qualifying but earning her spot in the main draw as a lucky loser.
Konta has been impressive in places but is prone to a mid-set wobble from time to time this grass courts season, even without factoring in the battering that she received in the first set from Coco Vandeweghe in the second round of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.
To her credit, Cirstea can flatter to deceive sometimes with her serve, but she can be very erratic, so if Konta comes racing out of the blocks as she customarily does, she ought to build up a bit of confidence.
And with the home crowd who will be firmly behind her – while it is unlikely to be quite as vehement as the atmosphere in Romania, the crowd can probably make any opponent feel a little uncomfortable.
Konta is a real homebody and being at home, enjoying her mother’s chicken stew and with seven singles matches already under her belt, she is getting the time on the surface that she needs, and the prospect of playing on the main stage in front of a home crowd beckons.
She said: “I love that centre court over there. I have had some of my earlier big wins on there, and I have had a lot of great matches on that court against a lot of great players.
“Overall, besides the fact that the grass is unbelievable on there, I enjoy playing in front of the crowd here. I think generally I look to do the best that I can to give them a great match to enjoy, really.
“I think they have been fortunate that I think they have enjoyed a few matches that I have played, but hopefully I will be giving them a few more this year.”
Prediction: Konta in straight sets.
|Who is Konta playing?||Sorana Cirstea [LL]|
|Head to Head?||Konta leads 1-0|
|What time is Konta playing & where?||Konta & Cirstea are scheduled not before 12;30pm BST|
|Where/How to watch X’s match?||Eurosport1, BBC 2, BBC Red Button | Tennis on UK TV
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