Defeat for Konta emphasises that need for more variety on clay

After an opening set where just ten points were dropped by Johanna Konta many would have been surprised by her first round defeat at Roland Garros but that is what happened as she fell to Hsieh Su-Wei ranked outside the top 100 in the world and signifies that need to find more variety on the clay.

Clay has never been a strong surface for Johanna Konta and as the match progressed you started to see why the world number eight had never made it past the first round at Roland Garros.

Johanna’s game is very good but the adaption from hard court to clay court is tough. Johanna’s baseline game on hard and grass is solid and has good strength behind the forehand and the backhand but is also good at throwing in drop shots but to transition this on a clay court is more difficult as the courts at Roland Garros are quite slow so increases reaction time for players but if you aren’t too comfortable on the surface then sliding is an issue as well.

Watching the match and listening to Annabel Croft on British Eurosport after the match and said you can’t really think of a turning point in the match from when Johanna’s dominance ended and level dropped but Hsieh just used her doubles skills to mix things up and bring that uncertainty to Konta’s game and it worked!

Watching it back a few times there was a point in the third set where I thought this is where there needs to be more variety in her game but it’s not all down to types of shot but movement on situations you are in and this point below highlights that perfectly.

 konta 1

To even attempt this drop shot here at this stage in the match and that position on the court shows panic. Jo knows the longer this rally goes on she will be penned back behind the baseline and Hsieh will come up with something herself so Jo needed to take the initiative but the timing was off, a drop shot into the middle of the court is not going to work.

Fast forward a few seconds…

 konta 2

Because of the poor choice of drop shot Jo has to follow it in as if she retreats the point is lost instantly but unfortunately for Jo the approach to the net didn’t do her favours because of how poor the drop shot was that Hsieh could just prod the ball down the line for the winner.

 

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