British No. 1 Johanna Konta takes on Coco Vandeweghe for the first time at WTA Tour Level when they meet for a spot in the Aegon Classic quarter-finals. Konta, who made her first grass court final in Nottingham last week arrives in fine form. She survived a tricky second set against Lesia Tsurenko in her opener. Having started the first set in what is fast becoming her customary sprint-out-the-blocks start, she built up a 3-0 lead before Tsurenko found the court, and the scoreboard.
Konta led the way putting pressure on the Ukrainian throughout the first set, forcing her to save anther three break points before eventually serving out the set confidently to love. Tsurenko started the second set far more confidently though, taking advantage of her first break point chance against Konta’s serve to set up a 3-1 lead. However it unravelled as she served for the second set, with Konta needing just one break point to level, and hanging on to force a tie-break for the second set.
Konta never fell behind from the first mini-break, and managed to hold on to her advantage despite a flurry of break backs from the Ukrainian.
After the match she said: “I think overall the break serves were quite tough. I felt I actually throughout the whole match maybe just dropped my level a little bit. In that one service game, when she broke me and she gained momentum back and actually started playing better as well.
“So it was actually really tough to kind of, I guess, hold on, and then just looking to get back into that set. But I felt I stayed in each point quite well. I competed well in each of them, and I really just tried to do the best that I could.
“Also dealing with her serve, I thought she served quite smart, and I think she varied her spins on that, so it was quite difficult to judge and to adjust. So I thought I also did better at that towards the end of that second set.”
Konta v Coco Vandeweghe | H2H: 2-0
Before we get too carried away with assuring Konta her first quarter-final spot, Konta’s two wins over the American were at the lower tier levels and we are going back to 2010 and 2012, with Konta having turned professional in 2008. A lot has happened for both players since then, and for the American most notably coming under the tutelage of Pat Cash, after splitting from her coach Craig Kardon after the French Open.
In Konta’s favour, she has a lot more grass play under her feet coming in to this week, while last year’s semi-finalist at the Aegon Classic fell in the first round of the grass court season opener at Den Bosch.
Konta can expect Vandeweghe to hold strong on her serve, and for balls to come back at her on the rise. The American hits well off both wings, flat and powerful, but Vandeweghe is no slough at the net. Where she might not be so solid is her movement, and if Konta is willing to advance in a lot more she could disrupt Vandeweghe’s rhythm.
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