By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [6] v Arina Rodionova [LL]
  • Brit comes off back of strong run in Shenzhen
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Johanna Konta winds up her warm-up returning to Sydney with a view to another ground-breaking run.



Johanna Konta [6] v Arina Rodionova [LL] – First Meeting

Much as Shenzhen had not really been the best of season openers until this year, Johanna Konta will have been pleased to get some solid wins behind her, and will be looking for more of the same. Despite this being the city of her birth, with her older sister still living here, Sydney has not been a ‘go-to’ tournament for Konta in the past.

Her last performance here in 2015 saw her pick up two wins in qualifying before falling in the final round, so once more all the expectation will be on her to coast into the next round as she faces Lucky Loser Arina Rodionova.

Never take anything for granted though – the field has been decimated by a number of late withdrawals from many of the players who won titles or went deep in the first week of the season, with Rodionova having been given a wildcard into qualifying – so a lucky loser indeed.

For the most part Rodionova has been playing in the ITF levels of the tour but has barely troubled the main tour.

This is a match that Konta will be expected to win easily, but working with a new coaching team, and the level of expectation could still be a factor. For the most part though her coaching time-outs with Wim Fissette looked to be every bit as calm, measured and indeed useful as her time with Esteban Carril. It was a tried and tested way of her to stay in the moment and take each point as it comes.

Rodionova will have nothing to lose and can swing free – it will be up to Konta to be aggressive, come forward and try to ease through the rounds with as little drama as possible before the big show in Melbourne.

Prediction: Konta in two sets.



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