By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [7] v Wang Yafan
RABAT, MOROCCO – Johanna Konta is back on the clay as she starts her build-up to Roland Garros in Rabat, facing Wang Yafan in the opening round.

 

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Johanna Konta [7] v Wang Yafan | First Meeting

Putting Fed Cup aside, it has been a decent break for British No. 1 Johanna Konta. She started her training and preparations on clay after Miami, with a brief diversion to the Copper Box Arena to help GB over the line to reach the Fed Cup World Group II and the emotions were evident that this was in itself a major achievement.

However, it was always in plan for her season to start in Rabat, where she is the No. 7 seed, but it could be quite a difficult opener. She starts against an in-form Wang Yafan who has been putting together some very solid results this year.

She started the year with the Shenzhen semi-final and scrapped her way to the Acapulco title, having to come from a set down twice in a row. She reached the fourth round in Miami before also taking a lengthy break before hitting the dirt.

On paper, this ought to be a solid win for Konta, but Wang’s fighting spirit could make a customary quick start from Konta more of a challenge. While there has been a lot of criticism about Konta and clay, a lot of her ITF titles came on the red-stuff, so it is not as though she does not know how to play on it, but her playing style better suits hard and grass courts.

Wang does not necessarily have the best record on clay either, which could be a leveller for the pair of them and leaves us cautiously optimistic that the No. 7 seed will prevail.

Prediction: Konta in three sets

 

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