NEW YORK, USA – Johanna Konta continued her strong of form on US soil as she won the Battle of the Brits against Heather Watson to advance.
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Johanna Konta  def. Heather Watson 7-6(7) 6-1
It has been a frustrating US swing (such as it is) for Heather Watson, who had first round exits in Lexington and Cincinnati, and has yet to win a match in New York at the US Open.
For a moment though, it looked as though the tide would turn with the level from both Watson and the British No. 1 Johanna Konta hitting the heights. Konta was the one pushing the buttons, but Watson’s responses with aces were about as good as she has ever served, deflecting break points in a long game before finally Konta got her break through.
However Watson hit back immediately, breaking Konta as she tried to serve out the first set. Watson had two set points Konta’s serve but the British No. 1 held firm to force a tie-break.
Watson opened up a gap for a 6-3 lead but gradually four more set-points were eroded, as Konta determinedly worked her way back into the tie-break, for her part needing just the first set point to take the lead.
From there it became all one-way traffic, with Konta breaking Watson twice in a row before the Guernsey girl got herself on the board, but a comfortable serve to love ensured that Watson was still in search of an elusive first round win at the US Open.
Perhaps the less said about their encounter at Fed Cup in Romania the better, but despite aggressive heckling from the crowd and from Romanian Fed Cup captain at the time, Ilie Nastase, Konta gathered her wits to beat Sorana Cirstea on her home turf (well… dirt!) and then really did it on home turf when she beat her again in Eastbourne.
Coming into this match, the momentum is all with Konta – she had a fantastic run at Cincinnati, and actually found ways to handle the kinds of players that can give her a hard time. Although losing to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka showed some of the weaknesses if Konta is shaken from her comfort zone.
Cirstea can match the Brit in serving power and actually has a good net game – something that Konta is improving but can lead to moments of hiding behind cushions still.
Cirstea can be erratic at times though and it is what makes her inconsistent, and if Konta is serving well, then her game will lock on behind it – and we saw some effective drop-shots and even a forehand lob for a winner, so more variety is giving her more confidence.
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