By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta begins her Shenzhen campaign against home favourite Wang Qiang
  • First meeting between the pair

SHENZHEN, CHINA – British No, 1 Johanna Konta begins her 2016 in at the WTA Shenzhen Open, where she will face home hopeful Wang Qiang.

It has been a whirlwind of a year for the Brit, whose humble acceptance of all the good things finally happening after her hard work was rewarded with a place in the Top 50 at year end.

Along the way she overtook Heather Watson as the British No.1 and with Naomi Broady also beginning to make waves British women’s tennis has some great opportunities ahead of them.

But while Fed Cup captain Judy Murray helps Watson out on a temporary basis in Perth, where the Guernsey girl is playing the Hopman Cup with Andy Murray, Konta is back down to tour business.

On paper, Konta should come through this with no issues, but Wang has had occasional good runs over the past year in both WTA and ITF tournaments, and could get herself some free points with her serve, which she lists as her favourite shot, as well as speed as her strength.

Konta’s focus and her ability now to calm herself down and work the problems on court make her a favourite to handle the home crowd, and if that was not incentive enough, if the seedings run to form, she could well face top seed and recent WTA Finals champion Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals.

Konta will be busy as she will head to Hobart after this tournament to challenge compatriot and defending champion Watson there before the Australian Open, with both being named in the GB Fed Cup squad for the forthcoming Euro/Africa Zone Group I tie, in Israel.

Konta and Wang are scheduled on Centre Court at 11am (3am GMT).









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