ROME, ITALY – Johanna Konta faces a bit of a nemesis in Su-Wei Hsieh for a spot in the third round of Rome for the first time.
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Johanna Konta v Su-Wei Hsieh | H2H: 2-2
Last year there were high hopes for British No. 1 Johanna Konta to get a few rounds in Roland Garros but coming up against the unorthodox Su-Wei Hsieh saw her goals dashed in the opening round. In fact, Konta has yet to advance in the opener at the French Open.
However, the pair have split their wins and with Konta showing a little more grit and determination than we have seen of late, we could be in for a decent contest. Konta ought to have a little more confidence having weathered a bit of a messy encounter for the second week in a row with Magdalena Rybarikova. It was a nervy affair, but somehow Konta found that fighting spirit we were all used to seeing in 2016.
What she can expect though is a very different style of play. She delivers the ball flat, hitting both handed on both sides and Konta can expect to be chasing down all kinds of crazy angles thanks to the unpredictable nature of Hsieh’s shots.
Hsieh may well look to pull Konta into the net where her volleys can be the stuff of nightmares and Hsieh will look to slice and dice Konta to distraction. In their last encounter in Wimbledon it was a nervy affair, but Konta found a way to fight through – she will need all of that to get further in Rome that ever before.
Hsieh has the upper hand for sure, both on this surface and at this tournament as she comes in with three additional wins in qualifying. We have seen (yet again with Bernarda Pera last week in Madrid) that the stack of matches often stands them in great stead.
For Konta to get the win, she will have to be prepared to put in the kind of battle she did against Rybarikova, and in fairness she felt she had not done a lot wrong against Pera, but the American was most effective in playing the big points fearlessly.
That fight is returning to Konta’s game, and if she could win here, it would certainly help especially against a player many thought she ought to have beaten at the French Open, coming in with the form she had at the start of last year. However, Hsieh’s ability to pin back players, especially on this surface will be a tough ask.
Prediction: Hsieh in three sets.
Konta and Hsieh are scheduled on Court 3, not before 2pm (1pm BST)
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