Today is the beginning of the Premier Mandatory event in Madrid, the first event where all of the top women will be in action on the clay. Johanna Konta is the very slight favourite to get past Laura Siegemund in this night match encounter.
Konta has had a superb year so far but isn’t a very successful clay court player so she might run out of momentum in the coming months and weeks. She took an early loss in Indian Wells as she went down to Caroline Garcia in the third round but in the next tournament, she won the biggest title of her career at the Premier Mandatory Miami Open. Her best wins of that week came when she beat Simona Halep in the quarterfinals and Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Laura Siegemund had a bad start to the year but in both of her clay events she has had excellent results. In Indian Wells and Miami she lost first round of both tournaments to Yanina Wickmayer and Ying-Ying Duan respectively. She then moved onto the clay and made a semifinal run to the Premier event in Charleston before falling to the eventual champion Daria Kasatkina. She lost first round of Biel to Viktorija Golubic back on the hard and then in the Premier Stuttgart event she won the biggest title of her career. During the title run she got wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep.
Johanna Konta has only ever played in the Mutua Madrid Open once, which was last year in 2016. She lost in the first round of the event as she had to retire with a respiratory infection when she was 6-4, 2-1 down against Caroline Garcia. Laura Siegemund has also only played at this event once, which was alsoin 2016. She reached the third round before she fell to Sorana Cristea in a 6-4, 7-6(11-9) match, which was quite competitive. Siegemund would feel pretty comfortable on the courts in Madrid because she has got good wins here before but Konta has never won a match here, so she will be nervous coming into the tournament.
Head to Head Record
These two have played each other once before but it wasn’t on the WTA circuit, it was during a small ITF event in 2015 on the clay. The event was held in Alabama and Laura Siegemund came through the match-up with a very convincing and straight forward 6-0, 6-2 win. I don’t think that this is something we can look to for data points because both players career’s have come so far but it does show us what things can happen when an esteemed clay-courter comes up against someone who isn’t to comfortable on clay. Konta has entered the top 10 and reached a grand slam semifinal since the match so I don’t think this is a good thing to look for in regards to skill levels.
I think that Laura Siegemund will be able to pull off the upset today and get past Johanna Konta just because the fact that the match is on clay and each of their playing styles on the surface. I think that Siegemund will go out onto the court feeling nervous to be on a big stage against a big opponent and she might drop an early break. Konta will keep that break advantage for the whole set and she will eventually take out a comfortable set. From the second set, Konta will start to tire from all the movement on the clay court and Siegemund will start to get into a groove. Konta will only get two games throughout the final two sets and eventually Siegemund will take the match after breezing through the last two sets.