After the early exits of tournament favorites Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova in the second round of Wimbledon. Johanna Konta is now the bookmakers' favorite to win her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon. However, Konta is not taking any notice of what the bookmakers think, and she is taking every match one match at a time. Of course, the Brit would like to reach the final next Saturday but she knows there is a long way to go. The sixth seed is into the second week at her home Slam for the first time, and she will be looking to break more new ground at SW19.
Moreover, Konta's next opponent will be the 21st seed Caroline Garcia who defeated Konta in their last meeting in Indian Wells. Although it was the Brit's first match back from injury. Nonetheless, Garcia is in a rich vein of form after reaching her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open last month. She narrowly missed out to Karolina Pliskova but it was a step in the right direction for the 23-year-old who has the tools to reach the top ten. She was once touted by Andy Murray on becoming a future world number one.
Garcia's preparations for Wimbledon have been good. After a deep run in Paris, she failed to defend her title in Mallorca losing to eventual champion Anastasia Sevastova. The Frenchwoman defeated Sevastova to clinch the title last year. Nonetheless, it was a respectable semifinal finish, considering all of the emotions from a good run at her home Slam.
Konta's also been in a good rich vein of form on grass after reaching her first final on home soil, losing to Donna Vekic in three sets. She suffered an early exit in Birmingham losing to Coco Vandeweghe but she rebounded perfectly at her home event in Eastbourne. Konta defeated Sorana Cirstea in the second round, and due to continuous rain delays, a lot of players had to play two matches in one day. The Brit defeated reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and two-time Grand Slam champion, and world number one Angelique Kerber in the same day. She made the semifinals for the second year in succession but was unable to compete due to suffering a spinal injury after a horrific fall in her match with Kerber. Nonetheless, her participation for Wimbledon was in doubt but she has looked fine physically.
Konta's route to the fourth round
The sixth seed had only won one previous match at Wimbledon on five occasions, when she recorded her first main draw win last year, by defeating Monica Puig but lost to Eugenie Bouchard in the second round. Konta gained her revenge against Su-Wei Hsieh, who upset her in the first round at the French Open. This time it was a commanding, 6-2, 6-2 victory for the Brit. However, in the second round, Konta had another three-set battle with 21-year-old Donna Vekic, who beat her in Nottingham. Britain's number one survived a three-set thriller, 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-8 in a battle on Centre Court that lasted three hours and ten minutes. In her first-ever third round appearance at SW19, Konta eased past Greece's Maria Sakkari, 6-4, 6-1 to reach Manic Monday for the first time in her career.
Garcia's route to the fourth round
The 21st seed overcame a potential banana skin against Jana Cepelova in the first round. The Slovak had a reputation for upsetting the big guns at Wimbledon as she sent Simona Halep packing in the first round two years ago, and she defeated Garbine Muguruza in the second round last year. Nevertheless, Garcia thrashed her 6-1, 6-1 to reach the second round. In the next round, the 23-year-old eased past Ana Bogdan and in her second third-round appearance at Wimbledon, she sent Petra Kvitova's conqueror Madison Brengle packing to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon for the first time.
Konta and Garcia have met on four occasions, and both of their meetings have been split with two wins apiece. Garcia won their first meeting on clay in the first round at the Mutua Madrid Open last year but the Brit retired in the second set. A few months later, Konta would defeat Garcia in the Olympics, 6-2, 6-3, and she would defeat Garcia once again on hard courts in Zhuhai, 6-2, 6-2. Their most significant encounter to date was their third round meeting in Indian Wells which Garcia won in a final set tiebreak.
Who advances to the quarterfinals?
The sixth seed has the home crowd behind her, which could be an advantage in this encounter. Konta will need to continue serving big, which she has done in crucial moments of matches. The Brit's backhand is a devastating weapon, and she will be looking to dictate play from the baseline. Moreover, although Garcia is a tall woman, she is extremely athletic, and she is an all-around player. The Frenchwoman is very good at the net, and she is comfortable at taking the ball out of the air and producing smash winners in positions that look like, she would lose the point.
However, the problem with Garcia is that she is not consistent with some of her shots at times, which could be a problem against Konta. The Brit will utilize the drop shot, and for a tall player, the 21st seed has good movement. This will be an intriguing fourth round encounter kicking off Manic Monday at 1pm local time on No.1 Court.
Garcia will need to take care of her service games, and she is a fine returner. The 21st seed will need to try to dictate play but the British number one has this match on her racquet, and she should reach her third Grand Slam quarterfinal and join the last eight club at SW19. The winner will face former world number one Victoria Azarenka or second seed Simona Halep in Tuesday's quarterfinal.
Prediction: Konta in straight sets