Three matches to watch at Flushing Meadows today
Admittedly, Konta is a less than gregarious personality. She is not cut out to be a maitre d’ or chatshow host. But then, that is often the way with tennis players. Throughout their childhood, they have had every opportunity to slide off the court and into one of the team sports that are far more central to school life. If they did not take that option, they are usually loners by nature – and probably perfectionists, too.
“I have known Jo since she was 14,” said Claire Curran, a commentator, coach and former British Fed Cup player. “She has always been so incredibly professional – on time, everything in place, 100 per cent effort. I would commend, not criticise her. She was working hard and
A fascinating first-round test for Murray and his metal hip, against a Japanese opponent who has enormous speed and agility but no great power on his shots. Also, Nishioka is a leftie, which Murray usually likes. only because no one else has really put a case together. American Ahn, the world No 96, is renowned for her quirky TikTok videos.
Still a force at 40, the elder Williams made the most of lockdown, rebuilding her service action and adding extra topspin to her groundstrokes. Her appetite and desire continue to put many younger players to shame. investing everything in winning a grand slam and I respect that.
“I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that she wanted to play two matches in London to gather some data on her knee [which has been afflicted by tendon soreness] before turning her thoughts towards the American tournaments.”
The good news is that Konta’s knee held up superbly during the US Open’s build-up event, last week’s Western & Southern Open, while the heart palpitations that had afflicted her a fortnight earlier in Lexington stayed away. From the first ball of the WSO to the last, she played like a woman enjoying her newfound freedom – because that tendinitis had previously been bothering her for at least a year. The result was a morale-boosting run to the semi-finals, where she was eventually ousted by former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka.
Supported by her new coach Thomas Hogstedt – whose most famous former client, Maria Sharapova, was another single-minded character – Konta will go out today as the overwhelming favourite against an opponent who has yet to take a set off her in three meetings. Just to add to the potential lopsidedness of the fixture, Watson has yet to win a main-draw match at the US Open in eight attempts.
Some of that lengthy famine is down to tough draws – Watson faced Sharapova, Li Na and Simona Halep in successive years between 2011 and 2013 – but you wonder if the accumulated bad vibes played a role in a couple of recent heavy defeats against opponents ranked outside the world’s top 150.
With any luck, the eerily quiet surroundings at a fan-free Flushing Meadows will help wipe the mental slate clean, and we will enjoy a closer contest today.
Poor taste: A cut-out of Johanna Konta was unveiled at the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis