Konta prepared for Osaka
Originally published on 18/01/17 00:00
Konta arrived in Melbourne fresh from her victory at the Sydney International, but as she practised on Wednesday ahead of her second round meeting against Osaka, she says the scheduling at the majors can take time to get used to.
Whereas Konta played every day in Sydney, playing five matches in as many days, the larger draw at a Grand Slam means players get a day off between matches.
“It’s something you get used to,” said Konta, who says she watches matches on the TV in her hotel room. “I think that’s why the first couple of days of a Slam, it is also about adjusting and settling into your routine that you have here.
“Hopefully I will have many days to keep this routine going, but for now, I'm just happy to have come through [the first match] and will do the right things. Take care of my body. Just switch off a bit and then prepare for the next one.”
Next up for Konta is the up-and-coming Japanese teenager Osaka, who like Konta made major strides up the rankings in 2016. The 19-year-old started last season outside the world’s top 200 and broke into the Top 40 in October.
Last year, Osaka made a surprise run through qualifying to reach the fourth round in Melbourne, upsetting No.18 seed Elina Svitolina before eventually falling to former champion Victoria Azarenka.
Konta will be hoping to prevent another deep run for Osaka in Melbourne. The British No.1 won their only previous encounter in qualifying at the 2015 US Open. Konta was ranked No.97 at the time and went on to enjoy a giantkilling run of her own in New York, upsetting Garbine Muguruza and Andrea Petkovic en route to the fourth round.
It will certainly be a different challenge for Konta than the variety posed by her wily first-round opponent Kirsten Flipkens, but Konta is ready for Osaka’s big ground strokes and aggressive game style.
“I still look to do what I aim to do in all of my matches: I look to dictate and take control of the points,” she said. “But I think it's also having good acceptance and tolerance to the fact that she will sometimes have control, and also just really try to accept those situations and do my best to really stay strong and keep myself in those points.”