Kim Clijsters and Johanna Konta go head-to-head in a mouth-watering first round fixture at the Monterrey Open on Tuesday night.
Clijsters vs Konta is live from Monterrey on Tuesday, 3 March from 7:00pm local time/ 1:00am GMT (Wednesday morning)
Second seed, Konta is seeking her first win of the season, while wildcard, Clijsters goes after her first victory in over seven years, having only just come out of retirement for a second time.
Clijsters, who first retired in 2007, and then in 2012, made the surprise announcement towards the end of last year that she would be returning to the tour in 2020, and after a brief injury delay, she launched her third coming in Dubai last month, where she was beaten by Garbine Muguruza in her comeback match.
Despite the 6-2 7-6 loss to Muguruza, Clijsters showed enough in that match to suggest that she is still very capable of making a decent impact on the tour, and isn’t just coming out of retirement to make up the numbers. There were elements of the features that propelled her to No. 1 in the world. The Belgian showed impressive athleticism against Muguruza, and flashed some trademark forehand winners, the sort of which delivered four Grand Slam singles title.
She also displayed admirable fighting spirit, battling back from a set and a double break down to push Muguruza into a second set tie break.
“I had a good feeling out there,” said Clijsters, following her loss to Muguruza in Dubai. “I do feel a little bit of– I’m not going to say relief, but a feeling of the pace I can handle.”
“Second set, I felt I was really in the match,” she continued. “I felt like for a while I was dominating some of the points. I think that’s a good feeling to have, knowing the way I started the first set and then the way I was able to get back into that second set, with the type of tennis I played, it’s something that is the positive about this match. I’ll take that with me for the next matches.”
Can the Belgian register the first win of her third coming when she confronts British No. 1, Johanna Konta on Tuesday?
Konta is also attempting to win her first match in a long time, with her last victory coming at last year’s US Open. The former world No. 4 did not play again after her quarter final run at Flushing Meadows due to a knee injury.
It was a disappointing end to what was a resurgent year for the Brit, who had moved to the brink of a return to the top-ten following a string of very impressive results. Konta reached a career-high No. 4 in the world in 2017 following her run to the Wimbledon semi-finals, but she struggled with injuries and loss of form for a long stretch after that, and was down at 37th by the end of 2018.
However, the Brit was a lot closer to her best in 2019, reaching the semi-finals of the French Open, as well as quarter finals at Wimbledon and the US Open. She also made clay-court finals in Rome and Rabat, and peaked at No. 11 in the world. Unfortunately, her rise was cut short by the injury, leaving her stuck at a year-end mark of 12th.
Konta recovered in time to start the new season in Brisbane, but she is yet to win a match in 2020, losing to Barbora Strycova in Brisbane; to Ons Jabeur in Melbourne; and to Oceane Dodin in St. Petersburg.
Can she get off the mark against Clijsters in Monterrey?
Unsurprisingly, this will be the first meeting between Clijsters and Konta, and judging by the way Clijsters pushed Muguruza in Dubai, and Konta’s recent struggles, I think the Belgian has an excellent chance of getting the landmark win on Tuesday.