Konta rolls on in Wuhan – Halep next

By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta beat a struggling Victoria Azarenka 6-4 1-0 (retired) and sets up a clash with World No. 2 Simona Halep
  • First time meeting between the pair but Konta is on a four match streak here in Wuhan.

Wuhan, China – Johanna Konta advanced to the R16 in Wuhan, after Victoria Azarenka had to retire injured, setting up a clash with World No. 2 Simona Halep.


Former World No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Azarenka continued a frustrating year of injuries in her come-back when she pulled up during the match with a leg injury, and despite trying to battle on in the first set, she had to retire at the start of the second.

But take nothing away from Konta, she started the match, indeed both sets with intent, breaking Azarenka in the opening game of both sets. In the first set it was enough to give her a slim lead although she had to save two break points as Azarenka mounted her fight back, but it was a short lived moment, as she swiftly found herself under pressure again by Konta and her injured limbs.

She has the confidence that comes with winning, losing to just Maria Sharapova (Wimbledon) and Petra Kvitova (US Open) since the summer, but she will face a more confident Halep, who now leads the WTA leader-board with her 40th win on hardcourts this year.

Halep plays a gritty game, and will be scrapping hard from the baseline with solid ground-strokes and quick feet. Konta will want to take full advantage of her height when serving and will need to stay very focussed as Halep can clobber with power to match the best of them.

In all probability this is Halep’s match to lose, given her run of form and her confidence on hard courts in particular, but there is something about acing someone for the first time that can flummox those at the top/ Konta is meticulous in keeping her focus, and is also more than capable of giving the World No. 2 a headache in the Wuhan haze.

Konta and Halep are scheduled on Centre Court, not before 6:30pm (11:30am BST).

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