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Konta shuns seeding row to relish an early clash with Cibulkova

Good connection: Johanna Konta in practice at Wimbledon ahead of her second-round date with Dominika Cibulkova
Good connection: Johanna Konta in practice at Wimbledon ahead of her second-round date with Dominika Cibulkova

By Andy Sims and Jonathan Veal

Johanna Konta will today feel the knock-on effect of Wimbledon's decision to make Serena Williams a seed.

Dominika Cibulkova would have been seeded 32nd had Wimbledon chiefs not granted seven-time champion Williams special dispensation, which was down to the American's ranking falling when she took time out to become a mother.

It meant Slovakian Cibulkova was bumped out and she now faces Britain's 22nd seed Konta in a second-round meeting.

It is a match both players would have preferred to avoid until later in the tournament.

Cibulkova had previously claimed the decision to rank Williams at 25 was "unfair", as it left her unseeded and able to face a star name in the early rounds.

But after a first-round win over Alize Cornet, Cibulkova said: "It is what it is, it will not change. It doesn't make sense to think about it, I just have to play well to keep going.

"It would be better to play Konta in the third or fourth round so it's a very tough second-round match."

Konta won their two previous meetings on hard courts but this will be their first on grass.

The British No.1 said: "I'm looking forward to it. She's probably one of the best competitors on tour, and has been for quite some time. She's a feisty player.

"I think it will be a great test for me to keep a good kind of focus on controlling what I can, accept that she's going to fight her way into some points and really stay there until the very end."

Meanwhile, Anne Keothavong knows Katie Boulter has got her work cut out to make further progress at Wimbledon this year but feels the future is bright for the 21-year-old and her fellow young guns.

Five young British women were given wildcards this year, with Boulter and Katie Swan winning a match for the first time and Gabi Taylor, Katy Dunne and Harriet Dart all acquitting themselves well.

The quintet have made impressive strides this season, with Boulter, Dart, Taylor and now Swan all breaking into the top 200.

Boulter, from Leicester, is the leader of the pack and is closing in on a place in the top 100 as well as overtaking Heather Watson to become the new British No.2.

Fed Cup captain Keothavong gave Boulter her debut for Great Britain in February, and said: "The ability is there for all the girls and for Katie it's all come together sooner."

Former British No.1 Jeremy Bates is the coach guiding Boulter's rapid rise.

Keothavong said: "Jeremy has put a lot of work into her tennis and they've had that relationship for a number of years. She's got weapons. She's got a good serve, she's tall, and if she serves well she makes herself tough to break.

"She's got big strikes from the back of the court and has a good all-court game. There's still work to do, most of all on fitness, she can play one great match, but whether she's able to back it up, that's the big question mark."

Belfast Telegraph


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