By Ros Satar
- Johanna Konta (GBR) def. Stephanie Vogt (LIE) 6-3 6-1
- Konta faces Caroline Garcia (FRA) in the second round
- Head to head – Garcia leads 1-0
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – British No. 1 Johanna Konta looked to overcome opening jitters to advance to the second round of the Olympic Tennis.
Johanna Konta (GBR) def. Stephanie Vogt (LIE) 6-3 6-1
It was a testing time for the tennis players on Sunday as high winds delayed play on the outer courts, and Konta’s start time was bounced about more than a tennis ball in her elaborate service action. By now we know never to put any store in rankings, especially where playing for one’s country is concerned.
Vogt was putting up some spirited resistance as it took Konta a little while to find her range, with a lengthy first game where Konta’s four break points were all thwarted, with Vogt pushing for two of her own.
A pair of service games to love, and then it was first blood to the Brit as she broke for an early lead, trying but again frustrated when she failed to capitalise on further chances to break, before she clinched the first set.
The second set seemed far more smooth sailing for Konta, with an early 3-0 lead and bookending the set with a couple of breaks before sealing a spot in the second round on her third match point.
Konta v Caroline Garcia (FRA) – Head to Head: Garcia leads 1-0
There is no rest for the Brit as she is down for action twice on Monday. First up she faces Garcia for the second time this year. She had to retire from their match in Madrid with a respiratory illness, in what was ultimately a pretty underwhelming clay court season on arguably her weakest surface.
Garcia is a tricky one. Once tipped as a future World No. 1 by Andy Murray, her ability at times to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory can be alarming for her fans, but recently she seems of have turned a corner.
Once almost scared of the French crowds at her home slam, she seemed to embrace whipping them up to a storm, especially as she and compatriot Kristina Mladenovic won the women’s doubles in front of the adoring Parisian crowd.
Both have collected hardware this season, with Garcia winning in Strasbourg (hard) and in Mallorca (grass) with Konta winning her first career title in Stanford at the start of the hard court summer push. So by rights is the Brit a little sharper?
This is a tough one for Konta – her results in general have been solid on the hard courts, but we have seen that sometimes the pressure of needing to deliver for one’s country can do strange things to players! Garcia, though, comes into the Olympics pretty match shy, although she coasted into the second round dashing Brazilian hopes beating home hope Teliana Pereira.
On paper, Konta has the credentials to beat Garcia, but with the courts seemingly quite slow and bouncing pretty high, it will come down to who can adapt better – especially as they take to the court in the heat of the day.
Konta will need to be aggressive from the outset. Garcia has a good serve and forehand combination and can hit well through a slow court, and very good feel at the net. Both move well and Konta’s drive volleys have been impressive when on target.
Where the Brit maybe has the edge is that she can keep her cool slightly better than Garcia who wears her emotions on her sleeve – she has improved but can be easily frustrated.
Prediction: Konta in three sets.
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