By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon
- Johanna Konta  def. Sloane Stephens  3-6 6-4 6-1
- Konta v Petra Kvitova  | Kvitova leads H2H 3-1
WIMBLEDON, UK – British No. 1 Johanna Konta came from a set down to set up a Manic Monday clash with two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova
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Johanna Konta  def. Sloane Stephens  3-6 6-4 6-1
British No. 1 Johanna Konta came back from a set down in a tight, tense three-setter against Sloane Stephens to be the sole British representatives in the singles. Having already faced and between Stephens three times this year, including the Roland Garros quarter-finals, this was far more of a battle of wills than that encounter.
Stephens has been efficient this tournament, and there seemed very little between the pair in the first set, with Stephens converting the single break point at the end of the set before serving out for the lead.
It continued to be Stephens pressing, pulling up a break point early in the second before putting Konta under a lot of pressure with three more chances going begging. That started to turn the tide towards the Brit, who then had her first chance against the Stephens serve, before finally taking a third chance a game later to take the second set.
Stephens started to misfire much more as Konta grew in confidence breaking at the start and end of the set, before closing out the match.
After the match, Konta said: “I was really pleased with just my acceptance of recognising that she was playing really well, and also seeing — just keeping an open mind, trying to find a way, trying to give her different looks, try to give her different balls, just to try to get her out of her zone, because she was very much in it for a big portion of the match, especially in the first, then a big part of the second. Pretty much the whole second.
“Just pleased that I kept on playing the game and just trying to really work my way into the match and bring the best level I could, as well.”
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Konta v Petra Kvitova  | Kvitova leads H2H 3-1
Next up on Manic Monday will be firm favourite of the fans, Petra Kvitova – two-time Wimbledon champion who despite injury worries has been in very good form. Kvitova left it until the last possible minute to decide if she was going to play with a forearm tear that forced her to pull out of the French Open and meant she had not set foot on a court since Rome.
Since then she has breezed through her first three rounds without dropping a set, and her practice of not even hitting on the days in between seems to be paying off. Konta had started well and met her first test against Stephens, but while she trails Kvitova 1-3 in their head to head, she has picked up a win over on grass, in Eastbourne 2016 and came from a set down to boot. A lot has happened in both of their lives since then, which adds a lot more perspective on life in general.
Serving is key for both of them – if Konta has a strong serving day, then other elements of her game come along, and she can expect Kvitova to make good use of that swift leftie serve of hers. She has heavy groundstrokes and will create some great angles with her variety and timing, but Konta found a way to get different approaches into Stephens to throw her off her style.
There is a feeling that the longer this goes on, the better it will be for Konta, with Kvitova’s length of time off the tour. However, if Konta does not get off to her habitual fast start, then it could be a manic Monday exit.
Konta in three sets.
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