Belfast Telegraph

More pressure on Konta to progress, warns Vekic

 

By Tom Allnutt

Donna Vekic insists Johanna Konta is still heavy favourite to win their Wimbledon clash today despite beating the World No.7 less than three weeks ago.

But Vekic has warned Konta all the pressure will be on her as the British No.1 looks to reach the third round at the All England Club for the very first time.

Konta strolled past Su-Wei Hsieh in her opener on Monday to earn a reunion with Vekic, 17 days after the Croatian won their last match-up in the final of the Nottingham Open.

Vekic was a 2-6 7-6 (7/3) 7-5 victor on the grass that day but she says winning her second WTA career title will have no bearing on the contest.

"She is definitely the favourite," Vekic said.

"It doesn't matter that I beat her in Nottingham, it was different circumstances. I played very well, I had a very good rhythm and my game was going less up and down than usual.

"Maybe I will have a chance in that she will feel more pressure than me, especially on Centre Court. I don't have much to lose.

"If I serve well, I will have a chance and if I want to beat her I must play my best tennis."

Konta gave only five games away when she beat Vekic in their first meeting in Cincinnati last year and is likely to prove too strong again if she is anywhere close to her best.

But while many view Konta as a genuine contender for the title this summer, she still has it all to prove at Wimbledon, where she has won only two singles matches in six years.

"If this was a hard court I would say Jo is right up there," former British No.1 Sam Smith said.

"If this was the US Open I would be very strongly backing her but I just think this is not her best surface. When she comes forward sometimes she worries me.

"I think she needs another year of development on grass. The way she moves, it's not quite there technically for grass. I don't put her in my top four."

If Konta can overcome Vekic, she could have the lower-ranked Pliskova twin, Kristyna, to come in the third round before a potential showdown with two-time champion Petra Kvitova in the last 16.

"I think she definitely can win it," another former British No.1 Annabel Croft said.

"Because most of the players in the draw she's beaten, and judging by her form in Eastbourne where she beat the French Open champion (Jelena Ostapenko) and World No.1 Angelique Kerber.

"But she has a very difficult draw. It's going to be about building through the draw and keeping up that level in all the matches."

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