Johanna Konta vs Marketa Vondrousova Expert French Open Picks - 6/6/2019
Johanna Konta vs Marketa Vondrousova
9am EST, 6th June 2019
Roland Garros (Paris, France)
It was not that long ago when Johanna Konta poured out her soul after yet another disappointing defeat at Roland Garros. It happened after her first round match of 2018 edition of this prestigious tournament, after loss to Yulia Putintseva. One journalist asked an awkward question about being aware of how poor her results were when playing on clay. And by her response, it was obvious how well aware she is of her clay court record and how much it really bothers her. At that point, she was 0-3 at Roland Garros. Fast forwarding a full year, we are seeing completely different Jo on clay this season. It is obvious she worked hard to improve some of the areas in her game that were not very productive on clay. It seems like she is playing with more topspin on her forehand side now. She uses that shot crosscourt more to set up other moves and overall, she is being more patient and systematic during the match. Results improved immediately. Finals in Rabat, finals in Rome and now semifinals at French Open, where she failed to win a single match in the main draw before 2019. She dropped only 1 set in the process and looked especially sharp yesterday vs last years finalist - Sloane Stephens. She needed only 71 minutes to get the job done. Served magnificently, leaving no opportunity for Stephens, when putting the 1st serve in play and she did that at a very high percentage (70%). Winners to UE ratio was almost 2/1 (25-13), which is excellent on clay.
She is facing Marketa Vondrousova, who came through to the semis completely unscathed, even though her part of the draw was not easy at all. She almost lost her first set of the tournament yesterday vs Petra Martic, but the way she fought back is showing how much she grew as a player in recent months. Won her first title even before turning 18. But she was always very erratic and struggled to control her emotions on the court. Tide started to turn when Jan Hernych joined her coaching staff. And currently, we are seeing a calmer and more collected Marketa. She is also not playing as wild and going for big shots too often, but rather putting the ball deeper in court and making it difficult for her opponents to step in and attack.
They've split their two H2H battles to 1 a piece. One of those was fairly recent actually. Talking about their meeting in Rome just a couple weeks ago when Konta won the quarterfinal meet in 3 sets. I didn't see much changing in their games from then, comparing to their performance in this tournament, so we might expect a similar course of the match once again. As a lefty, Marketa relies heavily on that crosscourt forehand, which is causing problems to many girls. But unfortunately for her, it's no big deal for Johanna. Her backhand is extremely solid and maybe even her best shot. She is countering that lefty forehand with a short angle cross, for which Vondrousova didn't have an answer in Rome. And I don't really blame her, because when Konta hits it the way she wants, it puts her opponent so far out of the court and almost impossible to recover.
Betting odds & prediction
I believe that the betting market reacted to that matchup disadvantage. Czech teenager opened as a favorite, but that line moved immediately, making her an underdog. Total is sitting at 21.5, which might be a tad low, considering they played 3 set in Rome, also both playing well at the moment and both are ready to fight until the end in the biggest match of their careers. Still, I think backing Konta is the way to go in this situation. She has medicine for Marketa's game and I don't believe Vondrousova can do a big enough adjustment in such a short period of time.
Josh's Pick: Johanna Konta -128
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