Meet the Kompetion : Kerber vs Konta


The second semi-finals throw up an unexpected tie between German born No. 7 seed Angelique Kerber and British tennis star Johanna Konta. This will be the first time that the duo will face-off against each other. Kerber began the 2016 season at the Brisbane International, defeating the likes of Camila Giorgi, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Carla Suarez Navarro to reach the final where she came up short to eventual winner Victoria Azarenka. Kerber struggled with a gastrointestinal illness in her first-round victory over Elina Svitolinain the Apia International, Sydney and eventually was forced out of the tournament in a bid to remain healthy in the lead up to the showpiece event in Melbourne. The Apia International has been good to Kerber, with the German reaching the semis in 2015 and the finals in 2014. She beat Misaki Doi in the first round of the Australian Open, having been a match point down. She then scored a hat-trick of straight-set wins over Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania , Madison Brengle of the United States and fellow German, Annika Beck to reach her first quarterfinal in Melbourne, completing the sweep of quarter-final appearances at all four Grand Slams in the process. In the quarterfinals, she avenged her loss in Brisbane by beating 2-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka of Belarus for the first time in straight sets to advance to her third Grand Slam semifinal. Meanwhile, 2016 didn’t start as expected for Johanna Konta, as she was eliminated in the first round at the Shenzhen Open by Chinese qualifier Qiang Wang. Things quickly went from bad to worse as she lost in the first round of the Hobart International to Dominika Cibulkova in the same week. The British number one’s next event saw her make her main draw debut at the Australian Open. In the opening round she faced World No. 10 Venus Williams. The match was played on Rod Laver Arena with Konta winning in straight sets. She then backed up her win by beating Chinese qualifier Zheng Saisai and Denisa Allertová of the Czech Republic. This set up a fourth-round match with 21st seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, where Konta recovered from a set behind to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Konta then ended the ‘dream run’ of Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai in the quarterfinal to advance to a semi-final. She becomes the first British female player to reach a grand slam singles semi-final in 32 years, since Jo Durie at the 1983 US Open. After the match she said “It was a bit anticlimactic, wasn’t it?” “Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change it, but… also I have a lot of respect for her as player. I’ve known her for quite some years, and I think what she achieved her is incredibly special. That’s what I told her at the end of the match, that I was really happy to see her back.” Asked about her Australian and British affiliations, the Sydney-born player said, “Actually I am a tri-citizen. I’ve got a Hungarian passport as well. Just add that into the mix, guys. I mean, I’m pretty much the female version of Jason Bourne. But I definitely belong to Great Britain.”


Aditya Bhardwaj