Three matches to watch at Flush­ing Mead­ows to­day

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport | Us Open -

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

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