- Johanna Konta  v Marie Bouzkova | H2H: Bouzkova leads 1-0
- Heather Watson v Jennifer Brady | H2H: Brady leads 1-0
LEXINGTON KENTUCKY, USA – No. 3 seed Johanna Konta and Heather Watson are both on opening day action at the Top Seed Open presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics
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Johanna Konta  v Maria Bouzkova | H2H: Bouzkova leads 1-0
One long road trip later, British No. 1 Johanna Konta is in Lexington, and after just three matches at the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis, she finds herself facing the player who she last faced just before lockdown hit.
Konta described her journey to Lexington in a remote press conference before the tournament.
She said: “I arrived in the States on Thursday. I actually flew from London to Chicago and then we rented a car and drove down from Chicago. So we’re going to keep that car and drive it to New York, just try to really mitigate how much time I spend in airports and airplanes so just trying to be as vigilant as possible with that.”
Her loss to Marie Bouzkova in Monterrey came at her best performance so far in the year – she started 2020 with first round losses in Brisbane, the Australian Open and Saint Petersburg before finally getting some back to back wins to her name in Monterrey, before bowing out in the semi-final.
Bouzkova had a slightly better start to the year – the Czech self-styles herself as an all-court player with solid movement and groundstrokes as her strengths, which helped her go toe-to-toe with Konta’s more aggressive game.
She said, of Bouzkova: “It had such beautiful symmetry the fact that literally the last match I played pretty much before this whole thing happened will be the first match play once we start back up again.
“Funnily enough I was scheduled to practice with her today so obviously we rearranged our practice, but I just find that really incredible.
“I’m looking forward to it. It was a while ago so I’m going to the things with Dan (Smethurst), who’s here with me this week.
“I remember that she really applies herself out there. She’s very present in every point and she’s really there. She’s a really good competitor so that will be a really nice jumping in the deep-end challenge on trying to compete really well out there when I play her tomorrow or Tuesday.”
In truth despite three matches at the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis, Konta still comes in a little undercooked but there are some green shoots of hope, after she overcame Katie Boulter in a tense battle.
A win is possible but suspect this will be one of Konta’s former trademark comebacks with her back against the wall. With neither having played since lockdown, Konta may have a little more match-sharpness coming in but expect a rollercoaster.
Prediction: Konta in three sets.
Heather Watson v Jennifer Brady | H2H: Brady leads 1-0
But fast-forward a couple of years and Watson, who finished 2019 strongly reaching the Tianjin final, and started the year with a title in Acapulco and in her turn at the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis, Watson may have started slowly but sailed through all her singles matches without a loss.
However, Brady has also been keeping herself busy, playing in a number of domestic tournaments including a lot of World Team Tennis time.
On her day she can serve pretty well and plays aggressively, so for Watson it will be all about matching that aggression – an aspect that Watson has worked to add to her game over the years). The Brit may not have the most powerful serve, but she is accurate, and her movement could be the key against Brady.
Either way it is fair to say we should all strap in for another roller-coaster.
Prediction: Watson in three sets.
Watson & Brady are scheduled on Court 2, not before 12:30pm (5:30pm BST), Konta & Bouzkova are scheduled on Centre Court not before 2:30pm (7:30pm BST)
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