In the early hours of the morning Johanna Konta sealed her place in the third round of the Australian Open with a solid 6-4 6-2 win against rising star Naomi Osaka to progress in Melbourne but was helped by some very odd returning positions from the youngster who didn’t really come to terms with Konta’s first serve in particular.
Watching the match live I couldn’t believe what I saw in the opening couple of games especially at this point as shown below.
Konta on the ad side will be looking to open up the court, it’s her bread and butter everyone knows that part of her game and you can see she will be going for the kick out wide which she does nine times out of ten but just look at Naomi’s positioning on the court I don’t really know what’s going on. Naomi has lined up the forehand central return and by the looks of it is expecting a serve into the body as even if Konta went down the T it would be extremely difficult for Osaka to get a return on the ball as her body is facing into the forehand not the backhand so would have to completely rotate and just throw the racket at it, bizarre!
Another example a couple of games later…
Another first serve from Konta. Osaka middle of the court, flat footed and lining up the backhand, Konta once again goes for that swinging serve out wide, Osaka is too far away from the line and once again it’s another ace for the Brit when Osaka should have been stood where the red circle is, she’s already set for the backhand return so why not move over? Instead this happens…
At the end of the day I could have picked plenty of examples throughout the match. Osaka struggled to get a read on the first serve of Konta and the numbers don’t lie:
Konta – 70% first serve in
Konta – 1st serve points won – 33/37 (89%)
Konta – 2nd serve points won – 7/16 (44%)
The only place Osaka got a look in was on the second serve which was flat and had less depth meaning Osaka could move to it quicker and I believe Konta didn’t win a point behind her second serve in set one but got plenty of first serves in so this wasn’t a problem!
Screenshots credit to BritishEurosport