Caroline Wozniacki can continue her great run with victory over Johanna Konta in the Miami Open final. While it is still very early in the year, the rankings and race are taking shape already. The winner of this match will move into the top 8, a career high for Konta, while a win will see Wozniacki take the No.1 spot in the race rankings.
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After a number of months out through injury,Wozniacki was close to falling outside the top 80 in the latter part of last year. She entered the US Open ranked 74 before going on a tear that included 2 titles and 3 finals – including this one. Defeating Garbine Muguruza, Lucie Safarova and Karolina Pliskova back to back is no mean feat, especially the last of them with Wozniacki recovering from a set down to deliver two 6-1 sets to make the final. “She started off really strongly and had quite a few winners to start off the match. I was like, ‘Okay, welcome to the semifinals’ then I thought, ‘I need to step it up a little bit; I need to hit it a little bit harder and try and take the ball a little bit earlier.'” Caroline said of her semi final matchup.
Konta was an early loser in Indian Wells but has bounced back in style to make the final here. Although she was helped by her opponent’s collapse, Konta showed great resolve in fighting back from a set and break down to defeat Simona Halep in the quarter finals. She extended her head to head over Venus Williams in the semi final with a straight sets win, taking it to Venus on return and was rewarded with 5 breaks in her 6-4 7-5 win.
Wozniacki provides a different kind of test to the heavy hitting of Venus as Konta recognises. “Against Caroline, I’m definitely going to be looking forward to playing a lot of balls and a lot of tough points. She’s one of the best athletes in the game. She ran a marathon for goodness sake. I’m sure it’ll be a match where I’ll be running for a lot of balls.” she said.
While Konta has made a Premier Mandatory final before in Beijing, losing to Agnieszka Radwanska, this has to be her best run to date given the perceived higher standing of Miami even if they are tournaments of the same level. Konta destroyed Wozniacki in their only meeting so far, a 6-3 6-1 win at the Australian Open this year. Aided by one of the best coaches in the game in Wim Fisette, Konta will no doubt have a great game plan ready to take on Wozniacki. There was an expectation that Konta may fall back down to earth after her great 2016 but early indications suggest she has more to come and a new career high ranking would be the next step for the 25 year-old.
Prediction – Johanna Konta in three sets