Johanna Konta targets consecutive wins for the first time since the U.S. Open when she meets Tatjana Maria for a quarter-final spot in Monterrey on Thursday.
?? Johanna Konta  vs ?? Tatjana Maria Match Info
Date: Thursday March 5
Tournament: WTA Monterrey R2
Court: Estadio GNP Seguros
Time: 3.00pm local time (9.00pm GMT)
Johanna Konta vs Tatjana Maria Head-to-Head
Johanna Konta vs Tatjana Maria Match Preview
One round removed from knocking out Kim Clijsters for her first win of 2020, Konta now takes on another of the tour’s travelling mothers when she meets Maria for a place in the Monterrey quarter-finals on Thursday.
With a knee injury causing her to shut down her 2019 season after reaching the U.S. Open quarter-finals, Konta failed to win a match at her first three tournaments of 2020 in Brisbane, the Australian Open and St. Petersburg, but she got off the mark in a tricky Monterrey opener on Wednesday night, overcoming former World No. 1 Clijsters in the second match of her comeback, prevailing by a 6-3 7-5 scoreline.
It was a high quality match all things considered, with Konta’s steady baseline game proving too strong and consistent for Clijsters, who’s untimely unforced errors contributed to her demise.
“It was very tough. She’s an incredible ball-striker. Her ability to do things with the ball is what made her a multiple Grand Slam champion,” Konta said after the match.
“It’s why she was able to come back and play, in her second match back after seven years, at a level like this. That’s not exactly an every day thing, that’s for sure. I feel so honored to have played her, and really happy with my performance.”
Konta’s best season came in 2017 when she won her maiden Premier Mandatory title in Miami and reached the Wimbledon semi-finals, becoming the first British woman to make it that far since 1978, but injuries and a loss of form saw her fall to as low as No. 50 in the world in 2018.
The 28-year-old enjoyed a resurgent season in 2019 however, re-entering the top 20 after some surprisingly strong results on clay, finishing runner-up in Rabat and Rome before becoming the first British woman since 1983 to make the French Open semi-finals – which was even more impressive when you consider she hadn’t won a match in four previous visits. Konta went on to reach back-to-back major quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, but as mentioned, she was unfortunately forced to close her season off in September due to a knee injury.
Back up and running following her first win since New York, can Konta put together a title-winning week in Monterrey?
She’s up against German veteran Maria in the second round on Thursday. Currently ranked No. 91 in the world, Maria has won her first WTA matches of the season in Mexico over the last fortnight, beating Marie Bouzkova in the opening round of Acapulco last week before falling to Anastasia Potapova, while she registered a superb victory in her Monterrey opener earlier in the week, overcoming Acapulco champion Heather Watson in a gruelling and energy-sapping encounter, 7-6(4) 3-6 7-5.
It’s fair to say Maria’s best results have come on grass throughout her career – she enjoyed her best Grand Slam result at Wimbledon when she made the third round in 2015, while she also picked up her one and only WTA title on the lawns of Mallorca in 2018. That’s not to say Maria isn’t dangerous on hardcourt though – the German put together a nice run at the Premier Mandatory Miami Open last season, knocking off former champion Sloane Stephens on her way to the fourth round. Maria’s results didn’t get much better than that for the rest of 2019 however, and by the end of the year she was toiling away on the ITF circuit in a bid to remain inside the top 100, which she did at No. 91. She’s still at the same ranking this week, but would enjoy a nice boost if she were to upset Konta in Monterrey.
Johanna Konta vs Tatjana Maria Prediction
Both players earned confidence-boosting wins for different reasons in their respective opening rounds, but Konta is the deserved favourite on Thursday. The Brit looked reliable from the baseline against Clijsters and was hitting her backhand very nicely. Maria likes slicing and dicing, along with coming to the net, but if Konta is her usual steady self from the back of the court, she should have all the answers and come out on top.