Johanna Konta  v Jelena Ostapenko  | H2H: Konta leads 1-0
You would be hard pushed to find any evidence of this year’s first meeting between the British No. 1 Johanna Konta, and the newly minted Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko. Battling in the group stages of Fed Cup this year, Konta beat the young Latvian in straight sets (6-2, 6-3) but in very different conditions to the ones they will experience in Eastbourne.
The schedule has, to put it bluntly, taken a battering with the incessant rain on Tuesday delivering a virtual washout and a very ambitious schedule on Wednesday and Thursday to catch up. This will be their first meeting on the WTA tour (as no established head to head comparisons will even acknowledge their Fed Cup meeting earlier this year), but a lot has changed for the both of them since then.
Konta went on to win her biggest WTA Premier title in Miami, while Ostapenko beat many to the punch to claim a coveted Grand Slam title, so it is difficult to know who will face the more pressure in this match up.
On the one hand. Konta is now a veteran of playing in front of her (literal) home crowd and she will be enjoying some very vocal (albeit very polite) support, while many of the tennis aficionados in Eastbourne will be no doubt very curious to see the newest Slam winner on the block in action.
Konta told reporters late on a soggy Eastbourne evening: “She made the finals of Dubai last year, so she has had already some good results. She’s a dangerous player, and she’s coming off obviously winning her maiden Grand Slam title. I think she’s obviously coming in with a tremendous amount of confidence and hunger to play.
“I’m really looking forward to playing her. It’s another opportunity to play someone who is in great form, a Grand Slam champion, and that’s something that I look forward to, also playing against players like that. Overall, I’m excited to share the court with her.”
She has some form on grass, having reached the quarter-finals at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham last year, knocking out Petra Kvitova in the process so her fearless brand of aggressive hitting will come to the fore in front of a home crowd wanting to see the British No. 1 go one better than last year’s semi-finals.
One thing we saw with Ostapenko is that when she was a set and a break down against Simona Halep in the French Open final, she let go her inhibitions and frustrations, loosened up and just played. She goes for her shots more where Konta has had a couple of mid-match wobbles on the green stuff this year. This is winnable for Konta but do not expect Ostapenko to gift this to her.
Prediction: Konta in three sets.
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