Konta and Watson handed favourable draws
Johanna Konta and Heather Watson will undoubtedly be delighted with the draw for the Nottingham Open.
Both suffered an early exit on the red clay in Paris, failing to win a match at the French Open, but now turn their attention to the grass court season.
British no.1 Konta, who has had a torrid time on the WTA Tour this year, is the top seed at the Nottingham Tennis Centre and if she can replicate her usual form on fast surfaces should breeze into the semi-final.
But her service game has been shaky in recent months, and her lack of speed around clay court has resulted in a string of defeats.
As the no.1 seed, Eastbourne-based Konta has a bye into the 2nd Round where she will face either Australian Madison Inglis or a qualifier.
Madison Brengle, the American no.13 seed, is her likely last 16 opponent with a projected quarter-final clash against Donna Vekic. Croatian ace Vekic is in a rich vein of form this term, so should end Konta’s Wimbledon warm-up preparation unless the 31-year-old can turn on the style on grass and be lifted by the British spectators.
Guernsey’s Watson, the no.2 British player, has been no match for most opponents this season so will be aiming for a vast change of fortune on court.
Watson, whose losing streak has gone on for months, will also get the crowd behind her when as no.9 seed she faces either American Christine McHale or a qualifier in the 2nd Round, the prize for a rare victory would be a projected showdown with Czech Republic’s no.6 seed Marie Bouzkova that Watson would need a minor miracle to register a triumph.
Alison Riske, the no.2 seed from the United States and France’s no.7 seed Kristina Mladenovic are the players to watch out in the lower half of the draw with Vekic in the upper half the most likely finalist.