RABAT, MOROCCO – Johanna Konta dug deep and summoned that Fed Cup fight-back spirit to fight past Wang Yafan while Kyle Edmund crashed out of Munich in straight sets.
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Johanna Konta  def. Wang Yafan 4-6 7-6(0) 6-4
It was a rollercoaster of an opening match as British No. 1 Johanna Konta started her clay court season with a tense three-set over Wang Yafan to get her feet dirty. Konta and Wang could not hold serve for the first four games with the World No. 56 being the first to hold before anther brace of breaks.
Konta’s tenacity came to nought though as she was chasing the score-line with Wang breaking the Brit once more to wrap up the first set. The first set had been a war of attrition for Konta with a weak first serve and a reliance on drop shots and charging the net.
When Konta played to her strengths with aggressive striking from the baseline, she started t see the results, breaking Wang twice but the tightness returned as she was broken twice as she tried to serve it out and found herself having to save three match points as she forced a tie-break.
However just as swiftly the momentum changed, with Konta roaring through the tie-break without dropping a point. Yet again, there would be a twist in the tail, as the Brit was broken once more at the start of the decider, before fighting back for two straight breaks of the Wang serve. Serving for the match, Konta again was broken, but she responded with a break to love, to score her first win of the clay court season.
Next up for Konta as Ana Bogdan. Coming from a family of skiers, and still known to hurtle down a slope in the off-season, Bogdan will be every bit as tenacious, and has already had plenty of chance to get her own feet dirty starting her season in Bogota and scoring a good opening win over Alizé Cornet.
Konta, to her credit, changed tack when she realised that the drop shots were not working, and she will have to cope with Bogdan’s decent movement and defence, although she also has a more aggressive forehand.
This will be a fight to the finish, and Kota must get her serve in good working order. It was a complete disaster in the first round, and when that is firing well, the other aspects of her game come together. She has to trust in her ability to bully from the back of the court, and keep to that as a strategy.
Prediction: Konta in three sets.
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At one stage we were looking at both British No. 1s on their way out of their respective tournaments, but while Konta gritted out a win, Kyle Edmundslumped to a third straight loss. After starting brightly in the first round of Marrakech, where he was defending runner-up points. He was out in the next round (to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) before exiting Monte Carlo and now Munich without a win on what is generally considered to be his best surface.
Twice he was broken in the first game of the set and he did not even have any kind of sniff of a break point on the Kudla serve. He deflected another couple of break points midway through both sets as Kudla handily stopped Edmund from getting into any kind of disruptive rhythm with his primary weapon set of a serve and forehand one-two punch.
Next up for Edmund will be Madrid.
Konta and Bogdan are scheduled on Centre Court, not before 12:30pm.
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