2020 US OPEN – R1 preview + prediction: ???
?? (9) Johanna Konta vs. ?? Heather Watson
The British number 1 and British number 2 will do battle in the opening round of the 2020 US Open on Tuesday when the 9th seeded Johanna Konta takes on a resurgent Heather Watson. Konta holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Watson and heads into this clash as a strong favourite after a great run at the Western & Southern Open last week. On the other hand, Watson made a great start to the season and will fancy her chances of causing an upset if she can recapture that form.
Johanna Konta heads into this year’s US Open as one of the form players after a strong showing at the Western & Southern Open last week where she made the semi-finals. Konta stormed through her first 3 matches of the event without dropping a set or dropping serve in wins over Kirsten Flipkens, Vera Zvonareva and Maria Sakkari. Konta’s run ended in the final 4 where she was defeated by Victoria Azarenka in 3 sets. Konta has an impressive recent record at Grand Slam events, the 29-year-old reached at least the quarter-final stage in 3 of the last 4 major events, including a quarter-final run at Flushing Meadows last year.
Watson has a very poor record at Grand Slam events. Watson’s record at the US Open is troubling, Watson has never won a single main draw match in 8 previous attempts. Watson has played in a couple of events since the tour restart, both ended in opening round losses, a straight set loss to Jennifer Brady in Lexington, followed by a 3-set loss to Bernarda Pera at the Western & Southern Open last week. Watson will be keen to recapture some of her early season form which was her reach the semi-finals in Hobart and win her fourth career title in Acapulco.
Konta has handled Watson nicely in their two previously completed matches. Konta defeated Watson 6-4 6-4 in Indian Wells in 2017, more recently Konta prevailed 6-4 7-6 in Nottingham in 2018.
Recent form, history at majors and past head-to-head record all suggest a comfortable win for Konta here. However, the counter-punching ability of Watson does have the potential to cause Konta some problems, both of their previous matches were fairly close, the potential is there. Nevertheless, Konta is full of confidence at the moment after a great run last week and her previous success at major events, Konta is too strong for Watson in all departments, Watson will need to hope Konta has an off day in order to make this one competitive.