Faces Karolina Pliskova next – H2H: Pliskova leads 3-0
INDIAN WELLS, USA – Of the two British No. 1s in action, it is Johanna Konta who flies the flag as she advanced to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open, while Andy Murray fell to Federico Delbonis.
Starting the day’s action off, it was a rematch between the pair who last met in Melbourne as Konta was on her great run to the Australian Open semi-final. But a lot can change, as Allertova handed Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber her second straight opening loss in a row since coming back to the tour after the German’s famous win.
With her confidence up, Allertova struck first with an early break – the pair getting into some meaty rallies from the off. Konta, with her a habitual resolve broke straight back, in fact picking off three straight games before being pegged back once more by the Czech.
Another break to Konta put the Brit in the driving seat as she tried to first break for the set before finally converting her third set point.
We got to see some of the positive influence from her coach Esteban Carril, with plenty of positive reinforcement including the intriguing line of ‘identity very strong’ on court.
Just as Konta picked up momentum, Allertova started to look all at sea, losing her serve twice before getting a consolation break back, as Konta got the bit between her teeth to close out her place in the last 16.
Talking to her after the match, she told us: “It was a battle the whole way through to be honest. I think even in the second set we had some really close points and close games and I had to keep my head down and keep fighting through until the very last point.
“She’s been playing very well obviously. She had a good win in the previous round so I knew I had my work cut out for me. Just happy I was able to capitalise on some opportunities and come out as a winner at the end.”
At a time when we have seen some real testy exchanges on court between players and coaches, there was a marked air of calm and serenity between Carril and Konta in their on-court exchange.
She explained: “I always try my best to be in the positive frame of mind when he comes on court. I mean obviously there are emotions that are happening during every single match, good and bad. I’m very clear that he is there to help me, he has my best interests at heart, so I do try to stay as calm as possible whenever he comes on court.”
She faces Karolina Pliskova in the fourth round, for the fourth time, and has yet to get a win over either of the twins.
She laughed as she said: “I’ve played both of the Pliskova sisters, actually and I haven’t beaten any of them yet… either of them.”
She continued: “I didn’t realise I hadn’t played her on hard court, I might have played her sister on hard, I don’t even know. I’ve played her sister a number of times as well.”
Pliskova leads their head to head with a win on the clay and two on grass, so this will be a good test for Konta. Her last match against the Czech was in a rainy Birmingham so the rare desert air will be a good leveler.
Add to that Konta is coming in pretty match sharp with a run to the Monterrey quarter-finals while Pliskova lost two openers in a row after the Australian Open.
Is this winnable for Konta? Of course – her confidence is high, and she has demonstrated she can take the battle to those who, on paper at least, should verily wipe the floor with her.
Almost certainly assured of a spot in the Top 25 in the rankings after this tournament, long may her upward trajectory continue.
Konta and Pliskova are scheduled fourth on Stadium 3, not expected before 3:30pm (10:30pm GMT).
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