If you had looked at the form of the British No. 1 Johanna Konta and the current British No. 2 Heather Watson, coming into the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis, you would be forgiven for thinking that their rankings were reversed.
Admittedly after a slow start in her opening matches, Watson caught light in the domestic competition and went unbeaten in the singles and proved to be a pretty formidable partner for Jamie Murray in the mixed doubles, and certainly came to the US a lot more match-tight than Konta.
Since arriving in the US though it has been a different story, with Konta looking to have hit a great run of form before being up-ended by eventual champion Victoria Azarenka in the semi-final and Watson is still looking for a first senior win at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, in the somewhat unfortunately named Corona Park in Queens.
Armed with a new coach, Konta seems to be benefiting from the bounce she gets when there is a new voice to be heard in her team, and despite a few raised eyebrows at the appointment, both Thomas Hogstedt and Konta look to want to make this work.
Over the years Watson has added to her already well-established mobility around the court backed with solid ball-striking and adding more pep to her serve. She will need all that, and more, to combat Konta’s serve and will look to move the British No. 1 off the baseline to make her marginally more vulnerable at the net.
Konta’s dropshots can have the ability to stop people breathing – and not necessarily in a good way – but she has persevered with adding them to her repertoire, but you would have to give the more doubles capable Watson more of an edge if she can come forward.
That is a big ‘if’ though – in her Western & Southern Open match against Kirsten Flipkens, she effectively nullified the Belgian’s hopes of burning her at the net, keeping her pinned to the back of the court. Watson is a little more accomplished at switching her style to cope, but on the evidence seen this week, and especially if Konta’s serve is firing, you have to give the nod to the British No. 1 to advance.
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