The third quarter of the US Open draw still looks wide open with all four players feeling they can be the one to advance. The winner of Keys-Svitolina will know who awaits them afterwards as Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Konta decide the other competitor earlier in the day.
After an incredibly quick rise into the top 10, Konta did fail to build on that run and fell back. She failed to make a slam 3rd round last year but something seems to have clicked once more as the Brit looks a much stronger player once again. She has a semi final and a quarter final in her last two slams but will really feel she should have done better at Wimbledon despite outperforming her ranking. Konta toughed out a three setter in round one before cruising in the next two matches, dropping just six games combined to Shuai Zhang and Margarita Gasparyan. “There was nothing easy about that match. I had to stay present, at any point it could have changed and that’s what you have to be prepared for,” she said. “I was prepared to adapt whenever I needed to. I thought I just dealt with the challenges well today of the opponent I faced and also the conditions.”
Pliskova’s win over Ons Jabeur was definitely not easy either, as she needed three sets to defeat the Tunisian to move on 6-1 4-6 6-4. At a set and break up she looked in control but instead had to dig deep for the win. “Once you’re not feeling great… her game is not super nice to play because she plays kind of everything,” Pliskova said. “It was big fight. Not for sure the best feeling but I won, which is good.”
Having lost to the Czech in the Rome final, Konta will be eager to get a bit of revenge over the Czech. Unfortunately, the head to head does not make nice reading for the Brit who has a 1-6 record against Pliskova for her career. Konta is looking an improved player this year though and puts that down to a number of reasons. “I think, more than anything, it’s just probably decision making and also probably in terms of when I play certain things or how I play certain things. I think just general awareness on being on court, just aware of what my opponents are doing.” she said. She looks well placed to have a go at getting a second career win but will have to hope that the Czech is not at her best in this one.
Prediction – Johanna Konta in three sets