Second round matches at the Wimbledon Championships will start tomorrow – previewing two intriguing match-ups which includes Strycova-Osaka and Konta-Vekic.
1. (22) Barbora Strycova [No.23] vs Naomi Osaka [No.59]
Overview: This will be a fun match between too completely different styles, Osaka the hard-hitter and Strycova the more consistent one. Strycova had decent outings on the grass this year, reaching the quarterfinals of Eastbourne, beating Eugenie Bouchard, Garbine Muguruza and Lauren Davis enroute. In yesterday’s Wimby win over Veronica Cepede Royg, Strycova was the more consistent and took advantage of Cepede Royg’s serving woes to book her second round spot.
Osaka skipped last year’s grass court swing due to an injury, but has performed decently this year on the surface. After a quick demolition loss to Kristie Ahn in Nottingham, Osaka won a match in both Birmingham and Eastbourne. The Japanese player played against Sara Sorribes Tormo yesterday in Wimbledon where she needed a second set tiebreak having squandered three match points.
Thoughts: Strycova defeated Osaka in their previous encounter, 7-5 6-2. Strycova is a former quarter-finalist in Wimbledon and her serve-and-volley game is suited to the grass. Obviously she has more experience on this surface than Osaka, but the Japanese has been improving on this surface by every match. She’ll need to deliver a consistent and patient display in order to outlast the Czech but I have faith in her that she’ll be able to do that.
2. (6) Johanna Konta [No.7] vs Donna Vekic [No.58]
Overview: This will be a repeat of the Nottingham final as Johanna Konta will play Donna Vekic again. Konta managed to exact revenge yesterday against Hsieh Su-Wei, the latter having beat her in the French Open. This time it was a role reversal as Konta won 69% of serve points to win in straights. Konta’s level throughout the three warm-up tournaments this year was average as she took advantage of her serve to reach the final of Nottingham, but lost early in Birmingham. The Brit took a scary fall in her quarterfinal win over Angelique Kerber in Eastbourne, before withdrawing from her next match. Konta seems alright now and her win yesterday had proved so.
Donna Vekic was a set down in her first round match here but eventually outlasted the ‘s-Hertogenbosch finalist, Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 6-7(6) 6-4 6-1. Vekic won the title in Nottingham a few weeks ago and she was playing big, big tennis that helped her beat Konta in the final. If she can do so again, beating Konta won’t be an impossible achievement for her.
Thoughts: As said above, Vekic beat Konta in their previous encounter in Nottingham. After winning her first match yesterday I feel that Konta will be more relaxed now and will be able to play better tennis. If her serve is firing, Vekic will have an uphill task ahead of her. Going for Konta who should be clutch on the more important moments.