British No.1 Johanna Konta faces a tricky customer in her Beijing first round as she prepares for another encounter with Latvian player Anastasija Sevastova. Sevastova has had a resurgence in recent months and now sits at No.30 in the WTA rankings following a tremendous 2016.
Sevastova offers a very different problem for the British player. She plays with a lot of variety and one of her major strengths is her court coverage and her creativity with a tennis racquet. The Latvian player experienced her greatest performance at a Grand Slam at this year’s US Open as she made the Quarter-Finals at Flushing Meadows, which included an impressive victory over Konta in the process.
The World No.13, Johanna Konta, is fresh from a very good week in Wuhan, where she made the Quarter-Finals before losing to eventual champion Petra Kvitova. Konta has a lot to play for for the remainder of the season as she remains on the brink of qualifying for the Year Ending Championships in Singapore in October.
Konta acknowledges that a positive week in Beijing could see her qualify for Singapore for the first time in her career, but will need to do better than the likes of Svetlana Kuznetsova, Carla Suarez Navarro and Madison Keys in order to do so.
Konta should come into this match as the slight favourite because of how confident she is feeling about her game and the fact that she plays supremely well on a hard court. Winning her first WTA title on the hard courts of Stanford really did emphasise the progress that she had made in her tough, three set win over Venus Williams in the final.
The match should be won and lost on Konta’s forehand wing. During her long road to the Top 15 of the women’s game, the forehand has not been the most stable of shots in her repertoire. However, as she has improved, her forehand has become a bit more reliable.
Prediction: Konta in 3 sets
Kyle Edmund  vs Evgeny Donskoy H2H: First meeting
The 21-year-old British player is seeking to qualify for the main draw in Beijing for the first time in his career. Edmund had a quality win over the returning Pablo Andujar in the first round of qualifying, and now sets his sights on beating Russian Evgeny Donskoy in the final round of qualification.
Edmund is sitting on a career high of No.54 in the world and is on the brink of breaking of the Top 50, which is a goal he would have set himself at the beginning of the year. A win against Donskoy tomorrow would give him another opportunity at playing the very best players in the world in the main draw of the China Open.
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