Serena Williams vs. Johanna Konta, San Jose R1 Preview

Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, San Jose R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (6) Serena Williams vs. 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta

The pick of the opening round matches at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose sees Serena Williams take on Johanna Konta. Serena Williams will be in action for the first time since her runner-up appearance at Wimbledon last month. Johanna Konta looms as a tough opening round test for the American, It will be interesting to see what type of level Serena brings to this tournament.

Serena Williams came agonizingly close to creating some more history at Wimbledon last month as she made it all the way to the final. However, Serena was totally outplayed in the final against Angelique Kerber, an uncharacteristically uncompetitive performance by Serena on the biggest stage. Nevertheless, the signs are good for Serena just a couple of months into her return, she will be aiming to claim a couple of titles back at home over the next few months.

Johanna Konta had a relatively poor grass court swing, a second round exit at the hands of Dominika Cibulkova at Wimbledon was a big blow for Konta who was defending semi-finalist points. The pressure is now off Konta, she is outside the top 30 and doesn’t have big chunks of points to defend, perhaps she can return to her best whilst the pressure is off.

The only previous match between the pair took place at the Australian Open in 2017. The match loomed as a blockbuster quarter-final between the two form players on tour but Serena proved to be a class above Konta, winning quite comfortably 6-2 6-3.

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Johanna Konta vs. Dominika Cibulkova, Wimbledon R2 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R2 Preview
🇬🇧 (22) Johanna Konta vs. 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova

The pick of the second round match-ups on Thursday at Wimbledon sees British number 1 Johanna Konta take on the always-dangerous Dominika Cibulkova. This is a tough early round test for both ladies, both have made it to the final stages of Grand Slams in the past and would both be deeply unsatisfied with a second round exit. Who can step up their game and claim a big early round scalp?

Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in action during her first round match at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Konta came through a dramatic opening round clash at SW19. The 22nd seed was seemingly cruising to a fairly straightforward victory when she led Natalia Vikhlyantseva by a set and a break but things got complicated on route to a 7-5 7-6 victory. Konta saved a couple of set points at 4-5 before squandering a 6-2 lead in the tiebreak, eventually sealing the victory on her 6th attempt. Konta made it all the way to the semi-finals in London last year, the pressure is on Konta to replicate that run as the only real British hope in the women’s draw.

Dominika Cibulkova is two-time former quarter-finalist at Wimbledon and is in desperate need of a deep run at a major to revitalize her career. The Slovakian has had an unspectacular season but is as determined as ever to turn things around. Cibulkova started her Wimbledon campaign with 7-6 6-1 victory over Alize Cornet. Cibulkova was down for most of the opening set but once she fought back to take the set in a tiebreak she completely overpowered Cornet in the second, a good win for the 29-year-old.

Konta holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Cibulkova. The most recent match between the pair took place in Cincinnati in 2017, Konta claimed a 6-3 6-4 win on that occasion. This will be their first career meeting on a grass court and their first meeting at a Grand Slam.

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Johanna Konta vs. Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Wimbledon R1 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R1 Preview
🇬🇧 (22) Johanna Konta vs. 🇷🇺 Natalia Vikhlyantseva

British number 1 Johanna Konta begins her 2018 Wimbledon campaign with a fairly favourable first round clash with Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva. 12 months ago Konta became the first British woman to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon since 1978. However, her form has deteriorated since then, she will likely have a tough time defending those semi-final points over the next few weeks.

Johanna Konta of Great Britain in action during the second round at the 2018 Nature Valley International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Konta showed glimpses of what she is capable of on grass in the lead up to Wimbledon. Konta started her grass court campaign with a strong run to the final in Birmingham but did suffer early round exits in Birmingham and Eastbourne. Nevertheless, those early round losses were to the eventual champions, a first round exit at the hands of Petra Kvitova in Birmingham and a 3 set loss to Caroline Wozniacki in Eastbourne.

Natalia Vikhlyantseva has been touted as one of the more talented young players on tour, however she is having a poor season and brings bad form into the third Grand Slam of the year. The Russian stumbled at the opening round hurdle in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Birmingham. In a better result, Vikhlyantseva managed to get through the qualifying draw before succumbing to Su-Wei Hsieh in straight sets

This will be the first career meeting between the pair. The pressure is on Konta here, how will she handle the occasion?

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Caroline Wozniacki vs. Johanna Konta, Eastbourne R3 Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley International, Eastbourne R3 Preview
🇩🇰 (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs. 🇬🇧 (13) Johanna Konta

The pick of the third round matches at the Nature Valley Intentional in Eastbourne on Wednesday sees the top seeded Caroline Wozniacki take on the 13th seed and British number 1: Johanna Konta. The Britt comfortably defeated Wozniacki in their only two previous encounters. However, the reigning Australian Open champion will fancy her chances of a maiden win over Konta, it is Wozniacki who has generally been in far better form in 2018.

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in action at the 2018 Nature Valley International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Wozniacki was the runner-up in Eastbourne 12 months ago, she will be hoping to go one step further in 2018. The top seed is starting her grass court campaign this week in Eastbourne, the 27-year-old made a decent start to the tournament with a commanding 6-2 6-3 win over the potentially-dangerous Camila Giorgi.

Johanna Konta has already played quite a bit of tennis on grass over the last few weeks. Konta started her grass court campaign a few weeks ago where she was beaten in the final by Ash Barty in 3 sets. Konta received a brutal draw in Birmingham, beaten by eventual champion: Petra Kvitova in the first round. Konta is defending semi-finalist points at Wimbledon so the pressure is really starting to mount on the Britt.

Konta holds a 2-0 H2H record over Wozniacki. Konta easily disposed of Wozniacki in their two prior matches, both in 2017, a 6-3 6-1 win at the Australian Open and a 6-4 6-3 win in Miami. Wozniacki is a different player now and will be keen to show that in this match-up.

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Petra Kvitova vs. Johanna Konta, Birmingham R1 Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham R1 Preview
🇨🇿 (4) Petra Kvitova vs. 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta

The pick of the opening round matches at the 2018 Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham sees defending champion: Petra Kvitova take on Britain’s number 1: Johanna Konta. This is a tough match for Kvitova to start her title defense in Birmingham, Konta brings good form into this event having reached the final in Nottingham last week. This should be an exciting encounter between two players that excel on the grass, who will prevail?

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic practices at the 2018 Nature Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

It was in Birmingham 12 months ago where Kvitova won her first title after that terrible home invasion incident. Petra has not looked back since then, the 2-time Wimbledon champion sits at number 3 in the Race to Singapore standings and looms as one of the favourites at SW19 in a few weeks’ time. This will be Kvitova’s first event on grass in 2018, her first event since a disappointing third round exit at Roland Garros having won back-to-back titles in the lead-up to Paris.

Johanna Konta arrives in Birmingham fresh off disappointment in the Nottingham final for a second year in a row. Konta was once again beaten in a close final in Nottingham, beaten by Ashleigh Barty in 3 sets. Nevertheless, it was still a good week for Konta given it was her first final of 2018 and she was able to get some good wins under her belt. There was an incident with the umpire late in the third set which seemed to ultimately derail Konta, it will be interesting to see how she recovers in Birmingham just a few days later.

Kvitova holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Konta. The most recent match between the pair took place in Wuhan in 2016, Kvitova won that match 6-3 6-4. It was Konta who their only previous match on a grass court, a 5-7 6-4 6-0 victory in Eastbourne in 2016.

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Johanna Konta vs. Donna Vekic, Nottingham SF Preview

Nature Valley Open, Nottingham SF Preview
🇬🇧 (4) Johanna Konta vs. 🇭🇷 (6) Donna Vekic

Johanna Konta and Donna Vekic will renew hostilities when they meet in Saturday’s second semi-final at the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham. Konta and Vekic established an intriguing rivalry during the grass court swing last year. It all started in Nottingham where Vekic upset Konta to win the title 12 months ago, Konta will be keen for revenge here and heads into this match in great form.

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Johanna Konta has breezed into her first semi-final of the year. The Brit has not dropped a set on route to the final 4, Konta has claimed wins over Kurumi Nara, Heather Watson and Dalila Jakupovic. Konta certainly has a great game for this surface, the 27-year-old possess one of the best serves on tour which sets her up for success on the grass.

Donna Vekic has done well to reach the semi-finals in Nottingham in her quest to defend her title. Vekic started the week with a nervy performances, requiring a third set tiebreak to defeat Gabriella Taylor. The Croatian has been more impressive in her last couple of matches as she defeated Vera Lapko and Mona Barthel in straight sets to reach her first semi-final of the year.

Konta holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Vekic. The pair played two epic matches on grass last year. Vekic defeated Konta 2-6 7-6 7-5 in the Nottingham final before Konta won an even more dramatic match at Wimbledon a few weeks later, a 7-6 4-6 10-8 victory.

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Johanna Konta vs. Dalila Jakupovic, Nottingham QF Preview

Nature Valley Open, Nottingham QF Preview
🇬🇧 (4) Johanna Konta vs. 🇸🇮 Dalila Jakupovic

Johanna Konta continues her quest for the Nottingham title on Friday with a quarter-final showdown with Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic. This will be the first career meeting between Konta and Jakupovic, the pair both bring good form into this match having won their first few matches this week in straight sets. Nevertheless, this is a big mismatch on paper, Konta will enter this match as an overwhelming favourite.

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Johanna Konta is into just her second quarter-final of 2018. It has been a mostly disappointing season for Konta but she will be hoping to turn her fortunes around on the grass in front of her home fans. Konta reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year, there is no doubt that grass can be a very dangerous surface for the Brit. Konta started her Nottingham campaign with a 6-2 6-3 win over Kurumi Nara before surviving a tough test as she beat compatriot Heather Watson 6-4 7-5. Given the state of the draw, Konta is to be considered one of the main contenders to win the title from here, if she were to capture the title it would be a much needed confidence booster heading into the bigger grass court events.

Dalila Jakupovic is also into her second quarter-final of 2018, her first career quarter-final on a grass court. Jakupovic started her Nottingham campaign with a 7-6 6-2 upset victory over the 8th seeded Camila Giorgi before defeating Poland’s Magdalena Frech 6-4 6-3.

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Johanna Konta vs. Heather Watson, Nottingham R2 Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Open, Nottingham R2 Preview
🇬🇧 (4) Johanna Konta vs. 🇬🇧 Heather Watson

Britain’s number 1 and number 2 will go head-to-head when Johanna Konta takes on Heather Watson at the second round stage in Nottingham on Thursday. Konta and Watson both play some of their best tennis on grass, both claimed comfortable opening round wins and will head into this match full of confidence. Can Watson secure her first win over Konta?

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Konta and Watson both powered through their opening round matches on Tuesday at the Nature Valley Open. Konta defeated Kurumi Nara 6-2 6-3 whilst Watson defeated Danielle Lao 6-1 6-3. The eyes of the British public turn to the grass court swing at this time of the year, Konta and Watson have both thrived in this situation in the past and will be hoping to do so again as both have had disappointing seasons thus far.

It was Konta who won the only previously completed match between the pair, a fairly comfortable 6-4 6-4 victory at Indian Wells last year.

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Johanna Konta vs. Kurumi Nara, Nottingham R1 Preview

🇬🇧 Nature Valley Open, Nottingham R1 Preview
🇬🇧 (4) Johanna Konta vs. 🇯🇵 Kurumi Nara

Johanna Konta begins her Nottingham campaign with an opening round clash against Japan’s Kurumi Nara. This is Konta’s time to shine, after a mediocre start to the season the Britt will be hoping she can capture the form that saw her reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year over the next month and push back up towards to the top 10.

Johanna Konta of Great Britain in action during her first-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Konta made it to the final in Nottingham last year where she was upset by Donna Vekic in the final, Konta will be keen to go a step further in 2018. Konta has an exceptional record on grass over the last few seasons, a 25-11 win/loss record on grass over the last 3 seasons. Expect Konta to be one of the main title contenders in Nottingham.

Kurumi Nara avoided the clay court swing and has spent the majority of her time at the ITF level in recent months. It will be interesting to see what Nara can achieve as the tour moves to more advantageous surfaces for her over the next few months.

This has been a very successful match-up for Konta. The Britt holds a 6-1 head-to-head record over Nara. The most recent match between the pair took place earlier this year in a Fed Cup tie, Konta won comfortably in straight sets.

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Johanna Konta vs. Yulia Putintseva, Roland Garros R1 Preview

Roland Garros, R1 Preview
🇬🇧 (22) Johanna Konta vs. 🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva

An interesting opening round clash in Paris on Sunday sees the 22nd seeded Johanna Konta come up against former quarter-finalist Yulia Putintseva. Konta will enter this match as a clear favourite but the Roland Garros surface certainly favours Putintseva in this match-up and she will fancy her chances of causing an opening round upset.

Johanna Konta of Great Britain in action during the 2018 Internazionali BNL d'Italia Premier 5 tennis tournament

Konta and Putintseva are both in mediocre form heading into the second Grand Slam of the year. Konta has amassed a 3-3 win/loss record on clay in 2018 whilst Putintseva’s record is a disappointing 2-5. Konta’s most recent result was a decent third round showing in Rome where she beat Rybarikova and Hsieh in straight sets before succumbing to Jelena Ostapenko in 3 sets. Putintseva was in action in Nuremburg last week, she had a great 3 set win over Sloane Stephens in the opening round but suffered a three set loss at the hands of Alison Riske in the second round.

Konta is the far higher ranked player and the far more accomplished player but importantly it is Putintseva has a far better record in Paris. Putintseva reached the quarter-final stage in Paris back in 2016 and has an 8-4 win/loss record in main draw matches in Paris. Conversely, Konta has never won a main draw match in Paris having suffered 3 consecutive opening round losses at the event.

It is Konta who was won the 2 previous matches between the two, interestingly both were on clay including a 6-3 6-0 win in Rome last year.

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