By Ros Satar, at Roland Garros

  • Johanna Konta [26] def. Antonia Lottner 6-4 6-4
  • Faces wildcard Lauren Davis in second round
PARIS, FRANCE – It had to happen at some time… and it did as British No. 1 Johanna Konta earned a spot in the second round for the first time at Roland Garros.

 

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Johanna Konta [26] def. Antonia Lottner 6-4 6-4

There were great expectations on the shoulders of the British No. 1 Johanna Konta as she looked to finally break her Roland Garros. Had the tennis gods been kinder to the Brit this time around? She had a qualifier first round, but Antonia Lottner came into this match with a lot of confidence. She had not dropped a set on the way to the final and is possessed of some good clean ball striking on her day.

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Indeed, the rangy German broke Konta in a game that fast became a challenge for either to hold their serve. Konta responded immediately with a break and came out on top of a flurry of breaks to take the first set.

The second set was a much tighter affair, with both having break point chances, before Konta broke Lottner once more to take the match. It was a fairly muted celebration for what marked a milestone period of the season for the Brit.

Last year some members of the British Press were hell bent on reminding Konta (lest she had somehow forgotten from her way to the press room) that she had yet to win here. So it was more than a little deserved pique that she got the last word on the subject n te one conversation that would not come up anymore.

“Which is that? We have had many on repeat. I assume that I won my first round here, right? I think it was a bigger deal to you guys than it was to me, to be honest. But, I mean, obviously I’m pleased to have come through that match. It’s nice to have won a main draw match here. That’s obviously nice. But I didn’t really look at it too much like that. I think I was just, more than anything, happy to have dealt with the challenges of today. And she was a tricky player to play.”

 

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Konta [26] v Lauren Davis [W] | Konta leads H2H 2-1

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Next up for the British No. 1 is the tenacious Lauren Davis, who makes up for her diminutive height with speedy footwork and stamina on court. She plays a similarly aggressive style to Konta, and so it ought to come down to who can control the points with big hitting tennis.

Davis won her first main draw match at Roland Garros in seven years, and so perhaps can appreciate the kind of intensity that Konta has been under. Davis skipped the entire clay court swing last year giving fatigue as the reason and has had to claw her way back up the rankings.  She earned her wild-card spot in the main draw by participating in the USTA’s wild-card challenge and has clambered back up the rankings again.

It has been such a while since they last met (Ningbo in 2013) and it is Konta who has the measure of their two ITF and one WTA tour events with a slight 2:1 lead. Since then a lot has happened for both players – Konta has made two Slam semi-finals and bounced up and down the rankings herself.

On paper and on current form you would have to make Konta the favourite to guts out a tough win here. And it will have to be a gutsy performance against the American who held match points against Simona Halep in the third round of the Australian Open in 2018 before losing that heartbreaker of a final set 15-13.

Konta will be made to run, run, and the run a bit longer as Davis will combine a first strike attitude with speed and fleetness of foot.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

 

Konta and Davis are scheduled fourth on Court No. 1, not before before 4:30pm (3:30pm BST).

 

How to Watch/Follow Roland Garros

TV ITV4 (from May 26)

Eurosport (Subscription Required)

Live Stream Eurosport (Free trial with Amazon Prime)

 

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