???? US OPEN, R1 match preview
?? (16) Johanna Konta vs. ?? Daria Kasatkina
Johanna Konta will begin her 2019 US Open campaign with a potentially tricky first round meeting with Russia’s Daria Kasatkina. Konta has had a resurgent season headlined by a semi-final showing at Roland Garros and a quarter-final showing at Wimbledon. The US Open is now the only major where Konta hasn’t made it to the quarter-finals, can the British number 1 change that at Flushing Meadows in 2019?
Johanna Konta’s US Open preparation hasn’t been ideal. Konta suffered back-to-back opening round defeats in Toronto and Cincinnati, a straight set loss to Dayana Yastremska in Toronto was followed by a 3 set loss to Rebecca Peterson in Cincinnati. It has therefore been just over 5 months since Konta has won a match on a hard court, dating back to Miami, not ideal heading into the final Grand Slam of the year.
It has been a really tough season for Daria Kasatkina. However, the Russian is starting to show some small signs of a form reversal during the US Open series. Kasatkina hasn’t won back-to-back matches since Rome but has played a few good matches in recent times. Kasatkina defeated Angelique Kerber in Toronto before pushing eventual champion Bianca Andreescu deep into a third set. Kasatkina then beat an in-form Barbora Strycova in Cincinnati before succumbing to eventual champion Madison Keys.
Kasatkina holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Konta. Kasatkina has won the last 2 meetings between the pair including a 6-4 6-3 victory on route to winning the Moscow title last year.
I’m going to go for the upset here and side with the Russian. It seems Kasatkina is due for a big win and Konta’s form slump may continue. Kasatkina will be relatively confident heading into this match having won the last two meetings between the pair and having played a good couple of matches in recent weeks. Kasatkina’s defensive skills and versatility can trouble Konta, especially early in a tournament when Konta is likely to be rusty having not won a hard court match in a long time.