Here we have possibly the best opening round match you will come across for the month, potentially the year, with Johanna Konta coming up against US Open finallist Madison Keys.
Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens were both all the rage in September last year after they both went on fairytale runs to the US Open final. SInce then however, there hasn’t been much to write home about for either. Since Flushing Meadows, Keys has only been able to play one competitive match, where she fell to Lepchenko in Wuhan, feeling the effects of what looked to be that wrist injury re-occurring. Keys is very much a confidence player, and needs to feel the ball coming off the racquet well consistently for her to play her best tennis. With one match since the end of August, I cannot back Keys as a favourite here against Jo Konta.
Although Konta’s form to finish 2017 wasn’t any better, at least she was still getting out on the tennis court and getting reps in. What will work in Konta’s favour is that she has come from Thailand where she got two solid exhibition hitouts under her belt, losing to Halep and defeating Ostapenko. She seems to be hitting the ball well, and has the ability to absorb the pace of Keys and use it to her own advantage at times.
Combine Keys’ lack of match practice (including winning only 4 games in doubles yesterday) and Konta having a few matches under her belt this week, then I am happy to back Konta as a slight underdog today.
3 units Konta to defeat Keys at $2.09 at Pinnacle