By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [14] v Dayana Yastremska [Q] | First meeting
  • Heather Watson [WC] v Alizé Cornet | Cornet leads H2H 3-0
  • Harriet Dart [WC] v Anett Kontaveit [16] | First meeting
  • Katie Swan [WC] v Zhang Shuai | First meeting
EASTBOURNE, UK – The Sunday start in Eastbourne sees a bumper line-up of Brits in action led by British No. 1 Johanna Konta.

 

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Johanna Konta [14] v Dayana Yastremska [Q] | First meeting

Birmingham continued to be a bit of a bugbear of a tournament for Johanna Konta who has never managed to string together back to back wins there. However, coming off the back of her most successful clay court season at a tour level, and with the backing of a home crowd, she will look to continue her more successful run of form at her home tournament (literally)!

Fans may think she has dodged a bullet following the withdrawal of Donna Vekic, but let’s not forget that Dayana Yastremska had Nature Valley Classic finalist Julia Goerges on the ropes just this week, leading by a set and a break before the German fought back. Expect the same for Konta who has hit a career-best ranking of No. 32 in the last 12 months, as well as winning three WTA titles including two this season. She is the 2016 Wimbledon junior finalist and will fight and scrap and generally cause Konta a headache, but experience should win through for the Brit.

Prediction: Konta in straights sets

 

Heather Watson [WC] v Alizé Cornet | Cornet leads H2H 2-0

Heather Watson in the first round of the Nature Valley International, WTA Eastbourne 2018

Heather Watson in the first round of the Nature Valley International, WTA Eastbourne 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Alizé Cornet opted for tennis in the sun of Mallorca but her 1-9 record at Eastbourne does not look too sharp ahead of the grass court season. That being said Heather Watson is in search of some much-needed confidence and wins, and has even reached the semi-finals of Eastbourne twice (2014, 2017) but has opted to drop back down to the ITF levels for a few years and broke an eight-match losing run in Japan, but has yet to get a win on grass in the main tour level events of Nottingham and Birmingham.

She has also yet to grab a win over Cornet, which makes the Frenchwoman the favourite.

Prediction: Cornet in three sets.

 

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Harriet Dart [WC] v Anett Kontaveit [16] | First meeting

Harriet Dart on Day 3 of the Nature Vally Open, Nottingham 2019

Harriet Dart on Day 3 of the Nature Vally Open, Nottingham 2019 | (Photo by Matthew Appleby)

Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit comes off an opening round loss to Konta in Birmingham and since reaching the final in Stuttgart, she seems to have stalled somewhat with just one win in four tournaments. She can play on grass, winning the title in Den Bosch a couple of years ago, but is up against feisty Brit Harriet Dart.

The Brit took the decision to skip Roland Garros due to a knee injury and is looking for a winning start in Eastbourne but starts very much as the underdog.

Prediction: Kontaveit in straight sets

 

Katie Swan [WC] v Zhang Shuai | First meeting

Katie Swan in the first round of Wimbledon, 2018

Katie Swan in the first round of Wimbledon, 2018 | (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Outside of Konta, Katie Swan might fancy her chances of advancing to the second round as Zhang Shuai has not had the greatest starts to her grass court season, with first round exits in Nottingham and Mallorca.

Swan has her sole tour-level win over Irina-Camelia Begu last year at Wimbledon, and Zhang is struggling a bit at the moment, despite having previously made the semi-final in Birmingham (2014).

Prediction: Swan in three sets.

Play begins at the Nature Valley International at 11am BST.

 

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