Wimbledon: Johanna Konta eyes quarter-final spot

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta

Wimbledon returns with a bang after its day of rest as Eastbourne’s Johanna Konta and Andy Murray carry British hopes on Manic Monday.

It is only the third time in 38 years that Britain has had fourth-round representation in both the men’s and women’s singles.

You have to go back 44 years to the last time the home nation had a man and woman in the quarter-finals, with Roger Taylor and Virginia Wade both making the last eight.

Expectations are high that Murray and Konta can match that, with both going into their matches as favourite.

Konta is likely to have a tougher time against 21st seed Caroline Garcia, famously once touted by Murray as a future world number one and now climbing steadily upwards.

The pair have met four times before, each winning twice, with Garcia victorious in their most recent clash in Indian Wells in March.

Konta has done a good job so far of shrugging off the tag of title favourite that was thrust upon her following defeats for Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova.

Konta’s coach, Wim Fissette, said, “I would of course say she can win but I have different favourites for the tournament.

“Venus Williams won this tournament a few (five) times. We still have the number one player in the world (Angelique Kerber). We have (Victoria) Azarenka, who has won two grand slams.

“I was surprised to see Jo at the top of the list because she never went really far here in the past.

“But Johanna is Johanna and on a good day she can beat all the top players. She is only going to get better on grass so, if not this year, maybe the next year.”

Defending champion Murray takes on unpredictable Frenchman Benoit Paire, who has never made a grand slam quarter-final.

Murray is bidding to become only the third man to record 10 straight quarter-final appearances at a grand slam after Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors.

After his victories over Alexander Bublik, Dustin Brown and Fabio Fognini, Murray again finds himself up against an unorthodox opponent.

He said of Paire: “He again has a different game to a lot of the guys now. He has very good hands, moves well, takes a lot of chances, goes for his shots.

“He can be quite up and down. But he seems to have played pretty well so far at this event. I expect it to be tricky.”

Wimbledon is unique among the slams in having a rest day before all the singles fourth-round matches are played on the second Monday.

Murray and Paire share Centre Court billing with Williams, who faces Croatian teenager Ana Konjuh, and Roger Federer against Grigor Dimitrov.

Konta will be followed onto Court One by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who take on Gilles Muller and Adrian Mannarino, respectively.

The clash between grand slam champions Kerber and Garbine Muguruza opens proceedings on Court Two, to be followed by Azarenka’s match against second seed Simona Halep