Konta’s fi­nals place is slip­ping away

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport - By Si­mon Briggs

Jo­hanna Konta is likely to miss out nar­rowly on par­tic­i­pat­ing in the WTA Fi­nals for the third time in four years, after she with­drew from the China Open in Bei­jing.

Konta cited “slight knee pain” as her rea­son for skip­ping the Premier Manda­tory event that starts on Sept 30. She has de­clined to en­ter Wuhan, which be­gins next Mon­day, so she will swerve the whole Asian swing.

It is not im­pos­si­ble that Konta could still edge in among the top eight play­ers in time for the WTA Fi­nals – which start in Shen­zhen on Oct 27 – and thus be­come the first Bri­ton to par­tic­i­pate since Virginia Wade in 1980. She is cur­rently ranked No11.

Konta would prob­a­bly need to en­ter two more events in Eu­rope at the very end of the sea­son, and hope a cou­ple of the play­ers ahead of her opt not to take up their places. Ser­ena Williams must be con­sid­ered a doubt, as she will not play be­fore Shen­zhen.

Konta was on the edge of qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the old WTA Fi­nals venue of Sin­ga­pore in both 2016 and 2017, only to be edged out by a pair of late runs.

Mean­while, British No 2 Dan Evans will be head­ing to Chengdu in time for next week’s tour­na­ment with a new coach. Hav­ing dis­pensed with David Fel­gate, who runs the Ju­nior Ten­nis Coach­ing op­er­a­tion at Chiswick River­side, Evans has turned to an­other mem­ber of the JTC staff in Colin Beecher. For the mo­ment, the ar­range­ment is only un­der­stood to have been set up for the Asian swing.

Katie Boul­ter, the Fed Cup hero whose sea­son was ru­ined by a spinal stress frac­ture, is close to full fit­ness.

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