China Open: Johanna Konta faces the improving Babos


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By Jake Davies

  • Johanna Konta [11] vs Timea Babos
  • Konta is in an outside position to qualify for Singapore
  • Kyle Edmund vs Roberto Bautista Agut [7]
BEIJING, CHINA – British No. 1 Johanna Konta continues her bid to make the Road to Singapore cut, while Kyle Edmund picks up the ranking pace with his advance to the second round.



Johanna Konta [11] vs Timea Babos H2H: Konta leads 1-0

The 11th seeded Konta faces a difficult challenge in the shape of Babos in the second round of the China Open. Konta, who this time last year was ranked just outside the Top 50, is now on the brink of breaking the Top 10 before the end of 2016.

Konta has a lot to play for in the coming weeks. At the beginning of 2015 she was a Top 150 player, and now she could qualify for the Year Ending Championships in Singapore, where the Top 8 players in the world play at the conclusion of every season.

Qualification for Singapore will be critical to Konta’s season as it will reflect the application and commitment she’s put towards her tennis in recent years.

Babos is another player who is on the rise on the singles court on the WTA Tour. She primarily established herself as a very good doubles player with her former doubles partner Kristina Mladenovic, whom she made a Wimbledon doubles final with.

Now, Babos has focused more on applying herself to her singles game as well as being a successful doubles player. The Hungarian No.1 player broke the Top 25 for the first time in singles and is now close to her career high ranking as the 2016 season reaches it’s climax.

In tomorrow’s match it will be obvious that Babos will possess the heavier groundstrokes from the back of the court, but it is essential for Konta to impose her improving game on the Hungarian. Babos has a monster serve that can get her many free points but it is not a reliable weapon under pressure.

Konta’s forehand has to be a stable, secure shot in tomorrow’s match and she has to try to force Babos to play from ineffective, defensive positions, where she is unable to put pressure on Johanna Konta.

Konta holds a victory over Babos on a hard court and has much more to play for for the remainder of the season, so I expect the Brit to come through this match in Beijing.

Prediction: Konta in two sets.


Kyle Edmund vs Roberto Bautista Agut [7] H2H: First meeting

Another Spanish player awaits Edmund in the second round of the China Open – this time he faces a Top 20 player in Bautista Agut. Most of the Spaniard’s accomplishments go unnoticed, but he’s done extraordinarily well to maintain a Top 20 position with the game he has.

Bautista Agut will not blast Edmund off the court, but he will get a lot of balls back and chase down balls that other players would give up on. He is a tenacious competitor who has got the very best out of his game and the rankings demonstrate just that.

The most worrying part for Edmund is, whether his progress from a physical standpoint, has improved enough to beat one of the most physically draining competitors like Bautista Agut.

Prediction: Bautista Agut in two sets.