Monday, April 3, 2017

Konta shines brightly, but will miss the green clay

Who has a (sometimes) very good serve, an awkward service motion, a wicked return game, and a  sassy inside-the-baseline return stance?

That would be Marion Bartoli, who is now designing jewelry and shoes and enjoying all the time she has to paint landscapes. But take out the parenthetical "sometimes" in the above question, and you have: Jo Konta!

And while I may be the only one comparing Konta with the former Wimbledon champion, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Sure, Bartoli swung her racket with both hands and was also, by my own assessment, incomparable. Still, the depth of the British star's aggression, paired with that robotic (Bartoli sometimes looked like a French windmill) service motion makes me think of Marion.

In my estimation, Konta was a "happy accident" waiting to happen. She's just too focused on winning points to not do well, and her serve has turned into quite the "weapon," as the commentators like to say. This combination of aggression and big serve can be lethal. And the British star, who announced she really did mean business early in the season, just won the Miami Open, her first premier mandatory title. Now she's in Charleston to compete on a surface that probably isn't as comfortable for her as the hard courts in Miami were.

Konta, unfortunately, had to withdraw from the Volvo Car Open because of a right shoulder injury. It will be interesting to see how she adapts to clay courts as the season goes on. In the meantime, her Miami victory has propelled her to a ranking of number 7 in the world.

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