Morning, it’s been quite a wait in the locker room for both Johanna Konta and Garbine Muguruza. As well as a brief rain delay, a near-long four-hour match between Kei Nishikori and Ivo Karlovic followed by a two-hour plus contest between Venus Williams and Alize Cornet meant the night session on Margaret Court Arena didn’t get under way until around 9.30am or 8.30pm Melbourne time.
Looking to the positive, it keeps British interest at the opening slam alive for a couple of hours more at least. Konta is the last Briton standing in Australia but has a difficult task to extend her stay Down Under as she takes on 18th seed Muguruza.
Konta does have the edge over the Spaniard in their head-to-head count, leading 2-1 with two of those wins coming on hard courts. The Briton also holds a better record at the Australian Open, reaching the semi-finals and quarter-finals in two of her last three visits. Muguruza, meanwhile, reached the last eight two years ago but has failed to make it into the second week in half of her six appearances.
Both players’ stars have dimmed in the last 18 months. Muguruza slipping from No 1 in the rankings in Sept 2017 to 18 while Konta crashed from world No 4 in July 2017 to 50 post Wimbledon last year. Despite Muguruza’s slide in form, Konta is fully aware of the 25-year-old’s strengths.
“For someone to win two grand slam titles – and I think she is still ranked in the top 20 – she is a heck of a player,” she said. “I don’t think she is vulnerable – I think she is doing very well and I am looking forward to playing her again.”
Muguruza, meanwhile, can empathise with Konta’s struggles: “I think people that have an aggressive game, they have good moments and not as good moments.
“I think that the ones that play well can always play well. It’s just that they take more risk. It’s a tough second round, because she can play very well.”
Konta and Muguruza will be on court at the conclusion of Alexander Zverev’s clash with Jeremy Chardy. Zverev leads two sets to love.