By Ros Satar at the Nature Valley International, Eastbourne

  • Johanna Konta [14] def. Maria Sakkari 6-4 7-6(4)
  • Konta v Ons Jabeur | Konta leads H2H 1-0
EASTBOURNE, UK – Johanna Konta continued to thrive in her home tournament, edging past Maria Sakkari to face Ons Jabeur in the round of 16.

 

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Johanna Konta [14] def. Maria Sakkari 6-4 7-6(4)

Facing Maria Sakkari once more having lost from a set up in the Rabat final, might well have been on the mind of the British No. 1 Johanna Konta. The battles between the two friends have tended to be competitive, tight and edgy.

It was just a single break that made the difference in the first set with Konta holding on to the advantage to take the first set. Things remained competitive until the business end of the second set where Sakkari broke for a 5-3 lead.

Konta displayed the same kind of resolve we have seen for much of the season and held her nerve to break straight back before forcing a tie-break. Perhaps there the nerves told as neither player could hold on to their serve fir the first five points. As it turned out it was Konta who held (and then lost) her serve but regained the advantage before closing out the match.

After the match, she said: “I’m very pleased to come through that. I think there was so little in it and in both sets. Our points actually felt that she was playing better than me, so I was just really pleased that I was able to stay with her and create a few opportunities and take a few of them.”

 

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Konta v Ons Jabeur | Konta leads H2H 1-0

Next up for the Brit is Ons Jabeur. Having achieved a breakthrough last year by becoming the first Arab player to reach a final on the WTA tour at the Kremlin Cup, she went on to surpass her career high to get to No. 52 in the rankings early this year.

However, she has not found any consistent form this year with no back to back tour wins this year. She can play a very refreshing style of game – charging the net and mixing things up with slices and volleys will work well on this slightly slower grass court, by all accounts.

Konta’s aggressive game has been serving her well here – if she can keep her serving up, then many aspects of her game will tend to follow, and although she leads their head to head, it is a while since they faced each other and Jabeur will make her move around a lot.

Konta added: “Ons is a great player. She really can play the game well. She’s been playing better and better over these last few months. I know she played well in Moscow last year, as well. Yeah, I think she will probably enjoy the surface, probably play the game well on the surface. It will be a great challenge for me. I’m looking forward to it.”

Prediction: Konta in straight sets.

Konta & Jabeur are scheduled on Court 1 at 11am BST.

 

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