???? Roland Garros, QF Preview
?? (7) Sloane Stephens vs. ?? (26) Johanna Konta
Sloane Stephens and Johanna Konta will renew hostilities when they go head-to-head at the quarter-final stage at Roland Garros. This will be the third career meeting between the pair, interestingly it was Johanna Konta who won both of those matches, both earlier this year. Nevertheless, it is the American who heads into this match as the slight favourite, last year’s runner-up is the highest seed left in the bottom half of the draw and will fancy her chances of reaching back-to-back finals in Paris.
The 7th seeded Sloane Stephens hasn’t always had things her own way on rote to the final 8 in Paris. Stephens overcame strong late resistance in all 3 of her matches in the first week of the event. Stephens managed to escape with straight set wins over Misaki Doi and Sara Sorribes Tormo but was not so fortunate against Polona Hercog where she failed to serve out the match before eventually claiming a 6-3 5-7 6-4 victory. The 2017 US Open champion produced her best performance of the tournament at the round of 16 stage where she comfortably beat Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-3 to announce herself as a genuine contender at Roland Garros.
Johanna Konta arrives in Paris having never won a main draw match at Roland Garros, Konta had previously lost 4 times at the opening round stage. However, Konta did arrives in Paris in great form having recently reached the Rome final and has continued that strong form in Paris. Konta broke her Paris duck with a straight set win over Antonia Lottner before battling past Lauren Davis in 3 sets. Konta produced a couple of clinical performances to secure a spot in the final 8, beating Viktoria Kuzmova and Donna Vekic in straight sets. To be fair, Konta has had a favourable draw, Stephens will provide her biggest test yet in the next round, an opponent Konta has actually had recent success against.
Konta holds a perfect 2-0 record over Stephens. The pair met for the first time in Brisbane at the start of the year, Konta won 6-4 6-3, more recently Konta prevailed 6-7 6-4 6-1 on the clay in Rome. Nevertheless, facing Stephens at a Grand Slam is likely to be a much tougher test for Konta, can the American make it third time lucky against the Brit?