With a short, but busy grass court season, players are trying to maximise their time on the grass, and Top seed and British No. 1 Johanna Konta is no exception, entered into the doubles at the Aegon Open with Yanina Wickmayer.
This time, facing each other over the net this time, it was a dream start for Konta, who lost to Wickmayer last year in grass at the same stage. She quickly jumped out to a 4-0 lead, before perhaps a little wobble in the breezy, but thankfully dry conditions.
Wickmayer picked off the next three games on the trot but Konta held on to that break advantage to seal the first set on her second set point. Coming out with the momentum, Konta raced out to a 5-0 lead before Wickmayer pegged her back with a break, but this time there was no wobble as Konta eased into the quarter-finals once more.
Konta said: “We look to compete on the court and that’s where we leave the battle. Of course otherwise we are great friends, and I’m looking forward to playing doubles again with her tomorrow.
She added: “I was able to deal with the conditions well. I really enjoy playing in front of this home crowd and coming back here for my sixth year. I do really like that Centre Court – it’s nice and intimate. I’m looking to stay here this week for as long as I can.”
Ashleigh Barty is no stranger to these courts, or this level having reached the quarter-finals last year coming through qualies. After taking a break from the sport to wield a cricket bat instead, she returned in grass court season of 2016. And her activity this year have seen her re-establish herself as a Top 100 player.
The Aussie has a good all-court game and Konta can expect some variation in her serve – especially the kick on her second serve. Barty has a lot of variety and with her doubles prowess she can expect to be made to run around.
Konta said: “I’m really looking forward to the match with Ashleigh actually. I’ve never played her before so I don’t know too much about her, but I do know that she is a very talented player. She’s very creative so I’m looking forward to that challenge.
“It’s another great opportunity for me to compete on the surface. With every player it’s about accumulating as much time on the grass as possible. As it is quite a short season in the lead-up to Wimbledon, everyone is trying to have as many matches as they can.”
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