For the first time in a long time, the home crowd at Wimbledon have a female player whom they could reasonably expect to challenge at the deep end of a slam in the singles event. Currently ranked a career high No.7, Johanna Konta has shown remarkable consistency over the past 2 years and is more than capable of going deep here. She plays Donna Vekic for the second time on the grass this year, this time to open Centre Court on Wednesday.
Konta will be hoping for revenge having lost against Vekic in the final of Nottingham to open the grass season. Her decision to play all three weeks in England on the grass was criticised by many but her superb fitness levels could well mean it isn’t too damaging to her chances here. She made the semi finals of Eastbourne last week before having to withdraw due to concerns over a spinal or head injury due to her nasty fall in the quarter final win over Angelique Kerber. There seemed little sign that she was struggling in her opener against Su Wei Hsieh as the Brit won fairly comfortably, 6-2 6-2. It was a far cry from her disappointing loss in Paris, where she lost to the same player at the French Open. “I am very happy to come through that match because she is a tricky player who beat me at the French Open. I am feeling well after the injury and it is a massive compliment that people think I have a chance here.”
Vekic seems to finally be making waves again on the tour after a long period of struggle following her early arrival on tour. The Nottingham title was a sign of the hard work she has put in and helped make a career high ranking of her own. The Croatian came through a tricky opener against Natalya Vikhlyantseva, beating the Russian in three. She will look to the Nottingham final to draw inspiration although it may be just as much down to how she copes with a crowd heavily cheering for her opponent.
Prediction – Johanna Konta in three sets