Johanna Konta vs Arina Rodionova, Sydney R1 Preview

Apia International, Sydney R1
(6) Johanna Konta vs (LL) Arina Rodionova

Johanna Konta begins her 2017 Apia International campaign on Monday with a first round clash against Arina Rodionova. The British number 1 will have a greater sense of pressure on her in 2017 after a somewhat unexpected breakthrough season in 2016 that saw her reach the top 10. Konta made a steady start in week 1, reaching the semi-final stage in Shenzhen and will be looking for another good week in Sydney as she prepares to defend semi-final points in Melbourne. 

Johanna Konta made her fist massive move on the tour last January when she made the semi-final stage at the Australian Open. Konta will be looking to build momentum as she aims to replicate her heroics at Melbourne Park. Konta worked through a couple of tight matches to reach the semi-final stage in Shenzhen last week, ultimately the Brit would have been disappointed with the way she exited, blowing a one set lead against eventual champion Katerina Siniakova. Konta will be hoping for more consistent performances in Sydney, starting with would should be a comfortable first round win.

Arian Rodionova has already played quite a bit of tennis in 2017. The Aussie came through the qualifying draw in Auckland, winning three matches but would ultimately succumb to Varvara Lepchenko in straight sets in the first round. Rodionova won her first two matches in the qualifying draw in Sydney but was beaten by Ying-Ying Duan in a third set tiebreaker. Luckily for Arina she has received a lucky loser spot in the draw courtesy of several withdrawals.

This will be the first career meeting between Konta and Rodionova. Clearly Konta is an overwhelming favourite heading into this match. I expect Konta to be quite focused here as her level of play in Shenzhen last week wasn’t quite where she would have liked it to be. Rodionova shouldn’t pose many threats to Konta, a convincing straight set win seems likely on a fairly zippy court that favours Konta.

Prediction: Johanna Konta to defeat Arina Rodionova in 2 sets

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