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Konta vs Jabeur WTA Eastbourne Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Konta takes on Jabeur in Round 3

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 25 Jun 2019
  • Johanna Konta vs Ons Jabeur is live from Eastbourne on Wednesday, 26 June from 11:00am local time/ 11:00am BST
  • First time they are meeting in a WTA main draw, Konta beat Jabeur in Sydney qualifying in 2015
Johanna Konta (PA Sport)

British No. 1, Johanna Konta targets a quarter final berth in Eastbourne when she takes on Tunisia's Ons Jabeur on Wednesday. 

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Konta is attempting to return to the Eastbourne quarter finals after missing out last season, when she fell to eventual champion, Caroline Wozniacki in the Round of 16. Prior to that, the 28-year-old had made at least the quarter finals for three straight seasons, including back-to-back semi-finals in 2016 and 2017.

Konta has come through two difficult matches this week, beating the dangerous teen, Dayana Yastremska 6-2 6-4 in the first round before battling past rising Greek, Maria Sakkari 6-4 7-6 in the second round. Sakkari served for the second set at 5-3, but Konta broke back, before taking the subsequent tie break to close out the match after an hour and 39 minutes.

“It was a tough match throughout, there was so little in it,” Konta said in her on-court interview. “I thought she played better than me for most of it. There were few opportunities out there. It was so tough to hang with her because she was playing so well.”

The Brit sent down 5 aces and no double faults, serving at 73%, and winning 71% of her first serve points. There's a lot more optimism over Konta's chances of producing a strong run at Wimbledon following her timely return to form.

The Brit looked set for long stint at the top echelon of the women's game when she made the Wimbledon semi-finals, and with it, rose to No. 4 in the world, in 2017, but what followed was a sharp decline, part of which was injury-induced, as she tumbled down the rankings. Konta's struggles went on for longer than anyone would have expected, with the Brit falling as low as 50th in the middle of last year, and ranked outside the top-40 as recently as mid-May.

With Konta seemingly going nowhere, she launched an amazing recovery on clay, making finals in Rabat and Rome, and reaching the semi-finals at the French Open, eliminating last year's winner, Sloane Stephens along the way.

Konta's grass-court season did not get off to the best of starts, as she was overpowered by the mercurial Jelena Ostapenko in the second round in Birmingham last week, but she's got another opportunity to pick up some useful wins this week in Eastbourne, and get the form and confidence up ahead of another tilt at Wimbledon. The 28-year-old, who is now up to 19th in the world, has made a good start with those victories over Yastremska and Sakkari- can she turn this into really big week? 

She faces Jabeur in the third round on Wednesday.

Jabeur has been well off the pace this season, with her Eastbourne wins over Evgeniya Rodina and Mandy Minella being the first time she has won back-to-back matches this year.

The Tunisian is playing her third straight WTA grass-court tournament, following an opening round exit in s-Hertogenbosch and a second round retirement in Mallorca while she was playing eventual champion, Sofia Kenin. She has improved on that in Eastbourne, scoring wins over Rodina and Minella- can she add the big scalp of Johanna Konta and proceed to her first quarter final of the season?

“She’s a very talented player, she plays so well on all surfaces,” Konta said of the Tunisian. “She’s another tough opponent and it will be another tough match.”

Before Eastbourne, Jabeur had won just five WTA main draw matches this year- in Shenzhen, Hobart, Dubai, Miami and Mallorca, while she fell at the first hurdles at the Australian Open, Doha, Indian Wells, Roland Garros and Mallorca.

Her 2019 form has sharply contrasted her excellent finish to last season, when she entertained and impressed in a run to the Kremlin Cup final in Moscow (she lost to Daria Kasatkina in the final). That result secured her a year-end ranking of 60th, 120 spots higher than her ranking in mid-June!

Despite her poor 2019 form, Jabeur has maintained a top 70 ranking all season, as did not have much to defend in the opening half of the year. Her lowest ranking this year has been 63rd and the highest, 54th. 

Jabeur has got a brilliant set of skills, as she not only possesses power, but also wonderful touch, and if she gets it all together, she can be a handful. However, consistency continues to be a problem for the Tunisian.

Konta and Jabeur have never met at a tour-level main draw, but Konta did ease to a 6-2 6-2 victory in a qualifying match in Sydney in 2015, and the competitiveness of Wednesday's reunion will depend on which Jabeur shows up. Still, Konta, with her form over the last couple of months, should be too strong.

Johanna Konta vs Ons Jabeur is live from Eastbourne on Wednesday, 26 June from 11:00am local time/ 11:00am BST

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Konta vs Jabeur WTA Eastbourne Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Konta takes on Jabeur in Round 3

Johanna Konta continues her Eastbourne campaign on Wednesday as she takes on Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in the third round. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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