By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [12] v Ons Jabeur | H2H tied at 1-1
  • Konta played just one match ahead of this year’s Australian Open
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – British No. 1 Johanna Konta is cautiously optimistic about having managed a knee injury for most of last year, as she prepares to open her Australian Open account.

 

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Johanna Konta [12] v Ons Jabeur | H2H tied at 1-1

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The ever-pragmatic British No. 1 Johanna Konta looks to be optimistic that her actions of shutting down her season early last year after the US Open, and opting to skip Adelaide this year after losing her opening match in Brisbane still leaves her in a good position ahead of the first Slam of the year.

Konta, as reported by AusOpen.com, seemed confident that she has shown she can come good, when it counts.

She said: “I think (my results in 2019) shows my resilience, it does show my ability to be able to overcome difficultly and still come through.

“It doesn’t guarantee anything for this year, but I’m looking forward to just being back, and playing – it’s been quite a while, about four and a half months, it’s not far off a protected ranking (laughter).

“I’m looking forward to just being back.”

Konta struggled with her form and had dropped down the rankings from the Top 5 to just inside the Top 50. Her epiphany on clay saw her reach the final of Rome and the semi-finals of Roland Garros, before she reached the quarter-finals in Wimbledon and the US Open, closing out 2019 ranked No. 12 in the world.

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She faces Ons Jabeur in the first round, who dumped her out of her home tournament of Eastbourne. Jabeur’s combination of confident charges to the net, and mixing things up with volleys and slices means she keeps more experienced players on their toes.

She has experienced how that can trip her up first hand, but also has gotten the better of the Tunisian once before in Sydney qualifying in 2015.

For Konta it will be a case of her serve being the key to her game. If she is serving well, often the other aggressive elements of her game come together but once it starts to waver, doubt can creep in to her game, and players like Jabeur do not stand by – they pounce and Konta could find herself in a battle early on.

Konta continued: “I wouldn’t say I’m worried (about being underprepared), it’s just the reality of my situation.

“At the end of the day, the worst thing that can happen is I lose, and I go home, and I prepare, and I keep playing the season. It’s not the end of the world.

“I think I’m here because I’m ready to compete and that’s what I’m going to do, just the best that I can.”

Konta will need to prepare for a fight. Jabeur has had a few matches under her belt and on paper at least is coming in match fit.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

Konta and Jabeur are scheduled fourth on 1573 Arena, not before 4:30pm (5:30am GMT).

 

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