By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta def. Alison Riske 6-4 6-1
  • Konta v Sloane Stephens [7] | Konta leads H2H 1-0
  • Borna Coric [13] def. Cameron Norrie [Q] 6-2 6-2
ROME, ITALY – Johanna Konta came up short in Madrid against the defending Roland Garros champion Simona Halep, and now faces last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens next.

 

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Johanna Konta def. Alison Riske 6-4 6-1

Talk about déjà vu as British No. 1 Johanna Konta delivered the same score-line to the same opponent in back to back tournaments. For the second time in a row, it was a quick start by the Brit to break Alison Riske early although this time there was a brief mid-set wobble as Riske tried to turn the tables on her, forcing Konta to save four break points before she eventually wrapped up the first set.

It was a decisive start to the second set with two successive breaks of Riske’s serve, before finishing her off with a break for the match.

 

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Konta v Sloane Stephens [7] | Konta leads H2H 1-0

Sloane Stephens in the first round robing match of the WTA Finals Singapore, 2018

Sloane Stephens in the first round robin match of the WTA Finals Singapore, 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Of all the tour level tournaments, this has been Konta’s best for getting match wins ahead of Roland Garros, where she is yet to progress past the first round. However Sloane Stephens on clay is not an easy prospect.

Against Simona Halep in Madrid, Konta raced off to a very promising start catching the defending French Open champion napping a little. If she can get off to a quick start against Stephens, she could make this quite tough, in an environment that is a little more akin to the conditions the players will see in Paris.

In fairness it is not as though Konta’s 1-0 lead in their head to head is dating back to when she was in the Top Five as she picked up a fairly competitive win in Brisbane at the start of the year.

Stephens is, however, a lot more accomplished on this surface and while it would be another confidence boost to get a decent and competitive three setter under her belt heading into Paris, Konta will be hard pushed to match her Brisbane win here.

Prediction: Stephens in three sets.

Konta and Stephens are scheduled on Court Pietrangeli at 11am (10am BST).

 

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Borna Coric [13] def. Cameron Norrie [Q] 6-2 6-2

While Cameron Norrie had been pleased with how he had stayed toe-to-toe with John Millman and advanced at the Australian’s expense, Borna Coric’s level of being able to grind down his opponents is next level. Often likened to Novak Djokovic for his abilty to reach anything, combined with devastating foot-speed and accuracy, he quickly undid Norrie’s more patient game with swift breaks in both sets.

 

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