In one of the standout clashes on Saturday’s order of play, Sloane Stephens and Johanna Konta will face off for a spot in the fourth round on Monday. It is their third meeting in the past two months, with Konta hoping to continue her unbeaten record against the American. A blockbuster fourth round could await the winner with Petra Kvitova the expected opponent.
Stephens hasn’t been tested in her opening two rounds against Timea Bacsinszky and Yafan Wang although it’s fair to say that those aren’t the toughest opponents, even for someone who could be quite vulnerable on clay. “I felt like I executed my game plan well, and that’s all you can really do. I was just happy to get a good win today.” she said after the win. She played just one match prior to Wimbledon and was outplayed by Jelena Ostapenko in the final two sets of their match at Eastbourne.
Konta looked to have peaked with her 2017 that saw a Wimbledon quarter final but she has refound her form although it coming on clay was a surprise to many. She beat Ana Bogdan and Katerina Siniakova to make it to this stage. “I felt like I actually served quite well in my first match, as well. I think on a surface like grass, that definitely can always help.” said Konta.
Konta won both their matches in Rome and Paris, on a surface that would have been considered to favour Stephens way more. Moving to Wimbledon where Konta is clearly more comfortable than a Stephens who often struggles on grass should give her the confidence to put in a winning performance in front of a vocal home support. “I think I’m in a good place right now. I think I’m playing good tennis. I’m definitely enjoying the tennis I’m playing. I feel like I’m asking my opponents a lot of questions. I feel like I’m answering quite a few, as well, when they ask me questions out on court.” she said. “I think I’ve been kind of building on my level each tournament, each match I’ve been playing as the season has been going. I’m pleased with that. We know it’s never just an upward trajectory.”
Prediction – Johanna Konta in straight sets