NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 24: Johanna Konta of Great Britain serves to Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium during their Women's Singles Second Round match on day five of the Western & Southern Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 24, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Tennis | Roland Garros 2020 | Johanna Konta prepares to face Coco Gauff in an intriguing opener
PARIS, FRANCE – It is a tough start for Johanna Konta, as she faces the self-assured Coco Gauff for the first time, in her Roland Garros opener.
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Johanna Konta  v Coco Gauff | First Meeting
British women’s No. 1 Johanna Konta turned around a hefty losing streak at Roland Garros last year in quite some style, making a run to the semi-finals and even if she can get past Coco Gauff, her draw pits her against some very good clay courters.
Konta’s run on clay last year saw her reach two finals in Rabat and Rome, but this year following the US Open after an impressive opener, she came up against one of the favourites for the title, Garbiñe Muguruza, and has been trying to get to grips with the conditions as well as preparing to play a young player who garners a lot of attention each time she takes to the court.
Having displayed a maturity well beyond her years during lockdown in the midst of the protests against racial inequality and social injustice, Gauff still garners a lot of interest when she commands the court on some of the world’s biggest stages.
While Konta plays a measured game with a well constructed plan that at times can make other more adaptable players read her game quite effectively, Gauff can produce some of her best tennis when her back is against the wall. The teenager loves to fight back, and while shot selection at times can still be a bit iffy, she will scrap until the last ball, and can combat other weaknesses in her gam with an impressive athleticism.
Konta will be more than capable of hitting through these conditions, although she cheerfully admitted that it was freezing!
Of her opponent, she seems well prepared enough, and told reporters in her pre-tournament press conference: “I know she’s very mature for her age. That’s why she’s able to compete at the level she’s competing. She’s physically and mentally mature enough to deal with the demands we have on tour. Obviously she’s going to just keep getting better and better. It’s going to be a very good challenge for me. I’m looking forward to playing her.”
Konta continued: “I’m very clear on the fact that I’m going in playing another professional tennis player who is one of the best ranked in the world.
“It doesn’t matter if she’s 14 or 40. I think she’s there for a reason. It’s going out on court respecting the player that I’m about to play. I’m going to be playing against the tennis that she brings, not her social media following, not her persona. I’m going out there to play the player that she is, and equally she is with me.
“As long as I can keep a good perspective, I’ll give my best chance to try and be competitive and do the best that I can against the player that I’m coming up against.”
Both come in with just one win on the dirt (and ironically both fell to Muguruza!) but expect Gauff to try and be quick off the mark, and for Konta to have to work for this win.
Prediction: Konta in three sets.
Konta & Gauff are scheduled third on Court Suzanne Lenglen, not before 2:30pm (1:30pm BST).
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