Johanna Konta vs Venus Williams, Rome R3 Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia ?? R3 Preview
(5) ?? Johanna Konta vs (9) ?? Venus Williams

An interesting third round clash at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia sees Johanna Konta take on Venus Williams. Both Konta and Williams are not at their best on clay, both will see this match as a rare opportunity to advance to the quarter-finals of a big clay court tournament. Konta has won the last three matches between the pair, including a straight set win in Miami earlier this year.

Johanna Konta is yet to have a big breakthrough tournament on a clay court, perhaps this could be the event for that. Konta received a bye through the opening round before producing an impressive performance to ease past Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-0. Konta’s win over Putintseva was a sign of the Brit’s ability to translate her aggressive baselines game to the red dirt, with improved movement there is no reason why Konta can’t achieve great success on clay.

Venus Williams has advanced to the third round in Rome courtesy of a couple of straight set wins. Venus started the event with a hard-fought 6-4 7-6 win over the always-dangerous Yaroslava Shvedova before cruising past Lesia Tsurenko 6-4 6-3. Venus has generally struggled during the clay court swing over the last couple of years but will be inspired by her strong start to 2017, perhaps she can reverse the trend this year.

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Johanna Konta holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Venus Williams. Konta has won the last three meetings between the pair, all within the last couple of years. Konta claimed an upset straight set win over Venus at the Australian Open last year before battling to a three set win in the Stanford final. Earlier this year, Konta defeated Venus 6-4 7-5 at the semi-final stage in Miami. Thursday’s clash in Rome will be their first ever meeting on a clay court.

I think Konta should again have the edge over Venus, especially on a clay court. Konta has not necessarily played her best on clay but she is capable. The Brit’s movement has improved dramatically as has her touch at the net. Konta is a better mover and is more consistent from the baseline behind her serve. Konta should be too good here as she will be able to dictate more often than not and move Venus around.

Prediction: Johanna Konta to defeat Venus Williams in 2 sets

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