By Ros Satar
- Johanna Konta  v Daria Kasatkina
- Kasatkina leads H2H 2-1
NEW YORK, USA – After one her best summer since 2017, Johanna Konta heads into New York short of wins, but gets a slight reprieve in the draw.
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Johanna Konta  v Daria Kasatkina | Kasatkina leads H2H 2-1
There can be no doubt that Johanna Konta has regained a little bit of her groove since paring up with Dimitri Zavialoff, whose belief in her saw a run to the Roland Garros semi-final, having never won a first round match in Paris, and the quarter-final of Wimbledon.
A long break and inevitable rustiness in her first match since that quarter-final saw her lose in the first round of Toronto, and while she had a more spirited fight in Cincinnati, it was another early exit, which prompted her to withdraw from the Bronx and head to New York.
Facing her in the opening round will be Daria Kasatkina. A delight on the way to the Indian Wells final, her two wins against Konta came in a year where she was still struggling for form and confidence. A lot changed for Konta with her Fed Cup heroics, and her progress has been pretty steady – but of course there is always room for improvement.
For the Russian, she started to experience the same kind of dip Konta had after such a breakthrough year in 2016. Kasatkina started the year with first round losses all the way to St Petersburg, where she finally won a round, but she wouldn’t get back to back wins until Rome. It was a brief respite and she has not won successive matches since then.
On that reckoning Konta might just have the tiniest bit more confidence in herself, but this is no easy task, although her Roland Garros semi-final nemesis Marketa Vondrousova withdrew with a wrist injury opening up her draw just a fraction.
Kasatkina usually tries to get under a player’s skin by changing the rhythm and the look of the ball – expect slices, lobs, her trademark jumping backhand and in general good movement around the court. She has not been able to string that together consistently and will need to contend with Konta’s generally more steady aggressive play.
Konta has tried to improve at the net, but her drop shots still have the ability to terrify all watching, and this has all the trademarks of a tough three setter stamped all over it. Yet Konta’s last two Slams have really booted her back into the seeded ranks and she should come through this – but do not expect it to be pretty.
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Prediction: Konta in three sets
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Konta and Kasatkina are scheduled on Court 17 on Monday 11am (4pm BST).
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