By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [16] def. Margarita Gasparyan 6-1 6-0
  • Faces Zhang Shuai [33] next
NEW YORK, USA – Johanna Konta did not let Wednesday’s rain delay stop her stride as she cruised past Margarita Gasparyan to reach the third round.

 

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Johanna Konta [16] def. Margarita Gasparyan 6-1 6-0

Despite having to fend off a break point on her opening service game, Johanna Konta hit cruise control against her second Russian in a row Margarita Gasparyan, reaching the third round of the US Open in less than an hour, for the loss of just one game.

Having failed to convert a break point against the Russian in the first game, Kinta more than made up for it breaking to love, and breaking comfortably twice more in succession. That solitary break point for Gasparyan was her only chance to make a dent in Konta’s serve, as Konta raced through the second set – and with back to back days thanks to the rain, conserving energy was key.

 

Konta v Zhang Shuai [33] | Konta leads H2H 4-1

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The British No. 1 caught a bit of a break with the draw. She had originally drawn Marketa Vondrousova, who beat her in the Roland Garros semi-final earlier this year, but the Czech had to withdraw with a wrist injury, and her spot in the draw moved Zhang Shuai up to No. 33 seed.

If the name seems familiar, the pair have met five times before, including at the US Open in the final round of qualifying in 2012, and most recently at the Australian Open during Konta’s breakthrough year. However, since that qualifying match, their encounters have been quite one-sided straight sets wins. Outside of qualies, Zhang was the first to get tour-level honours but since then Konta has had the measure of her game, and the Chinese player will be looking to snap a three-match losing streak.

While Zhang had a bit more match-sharpness coming into the US Open, Konta has had both a battle and a cruise-through in her path to the third round with Zhang having experience the same in reverse.

As a player with solid doubles success, Zhang moves well and is happy to move forward, which will test Konta up at the net and the variety she is trying to inject into her game. Zhang’s backhand is the one to watch but her forehand can be vulnerable so expect to see Konta peppering that aggressively, and if Konta can take the returns off a fairly average serve nice and early, we can expect to see another decent win.

Prediction: Konta in two sets.

 

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