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Del Potro did the business for us yesterday, as that match went exactly as i expected it to with the Argentine dominating from the start and winning comfortably in straight sets. I was very surprised to see his price drift throughout the day, as lots of ‘tipsters’ seemed to fancy Nishikori to get the win. I think the main reason for that was that Del Potro as quoted in the media saying that he is tired and his body is hurting etc etc, from experience this can be read into far too much and backers (and layers) pay far too much onus on this type of info and are too quick to enter a market based on this. Gavriolova was another good example of this yesterday, she withdrew from the doubles citing an ankle injury, backers had backed Svitolina into 1.18 off the back of this info, yet Gavriolva came out all guns blazing and took the first set with no sign of much issue with her ankle. Just a bit of advice, be very wary of blindly backing or laying based on what you read, digest the info, watch the start of the match and if what you see backs up what you’ve read then act accordingly, if not then you know it’s just been a media smokescreen.
Anyway, onto today and we take our first look at the women’s side of the draw at the Miami Open as we look forward to the match between American veteran Venus Williams and our very own Johanna Konta.
These two have met 6 times before and both have won 3 a piece. What is interesting to note however is that Konta has won 3 of the 4 matches played on hard courts, including the last 3 and it was Konta who beat Williams in the Semi Finals here last year on her way to the title. American fans can however take some confidence in the fact that Williams has one their last 2 meetings today, in Rome on the clay and at Wimbledon last year.
Konta has looked very good so far this week, and loves playing here in Miami. She comfortably dispatched Elise Mertens yesterday, and likewise Flipkens on Friday. She is yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament.
Williams can consider herself very fortunate to be here as Kiki Bertens blew 3 match points against her yesterday, a few sleepless nights ahead for her. In her first match of the tournament Williams also looked pretty unconvincing against Natalia Vikhlyantseva, eventually winning through 7-5 6-4, although Vikh really should have taken the match at least into a deciding set. I have been unimpressed with Williams throughout this tournament so far if i’m honest.
Konta’s Recent Hard Court Mean Serving Stats
Won 61% of her service points
Held serve 82% of the time
Konta has a big serve and it’s been winning her plenty of free points so far in Miami. If she keeps up her first serve % i expect her to hit plenty of aces and unreturnable serves today.
Williams’ Recent Hard Court Mean Serving Stats
Won 56% of her service points
Held serve 65% of the time
Williams serve is on the decline in my opinion. What used to be a real weapon for her is now just a consistent stroke which when firing will win her a few free points, when not it can be a real hindrance to her. I expect Konta to go after her second serve a lot today, so a very high first serve % will be required from Williams today in order for her to keep hold of her serve regularly.
Konta’s Recent Hard Court Mean Returning Stats
Won 45% of her return points
Won 46% of her break points
Opponents have held 64% of the time against her
Konta’s return of serve is good, she does however sometimes go for too much and hits the ball long. I think she’ll get a good few chance on the Williams serve today, as i feel she’s been vulnerable in the department during this tournament. I expect Konta to claim a few breaks of serve today.
Williams’ Recent Hard Court Mean Returning Stats
Won 46% of her return points
Won 49% of her break points
Opponents have held 59% of the time against her
One of Venus’ largest strengths is her return game, she will look to be aggressive off the return but play with sensible margin for error. I expect her to break Konta today, possible even at least once per set.
Konta will hit the ball aggressively off both wings, looking to keep the ball deep and hit winners from all over the court. Expect her to trade mainly from the baseline and hit the ball cross court and with width. I expect her to dictate most of the points today.
Williams has a similar game style to Konta, and she will look to be aggressive where she can. She will also predominantly trade from the back of the court, however I feel like she has lost a bit of pace on her groundstrokes. I think unless she can take the initiative in the rallies, especially the longer exchanges that she will struggle against Konta’s power today.
I expect Konta to win this, especially if she continues to replicate her good form in Miami, she just loves playing here and is full of confidence. Williams has been struggling and I just can’t see her being able to impose herself on Konta today. Don’t be too surprised to see 3 sets, but expect the Brit to come through.
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