Jo Konta may have a quirky serve... but it is the one part of her game that gives her the edge over Venus Williams
- Jo Konta is the slight favourite to beat Venus Williams in Wimbledon semi-final
- Konta has a strange serve routine, but it is one of the most reliable on the tour
- She is a big ‘V’ server and picks her spots rather than blasting it hard anywhere
- Above all, the thing that is most impressive about Konta is her composure?
You can easily be distracted by the quirky routines in Jo Konta’s serve, those little skips and the odd way she bounces the ball — but don’t be fooled.
Once the motion is properly under way it is very clean and functional, and its reliability is one reason I make her the slight favourite to beat Venus Williams.
Not much goes wrong on the Konta serve — for example, you very rarely see her having to catch her ball toss — and I was very impressed with it during her defeat of Simona Halep.
You can easily be distracted by the quirky routines in Jo Konta’s serve, but don't be fooled
Konta knows exactly what she is trying to do. She is what I call a big ‘V’ server, in that she likes to aim out wide when serving both into the deuce and advantage sides of the court.
She concentrates on picking her spots, rather than blasting it and trying to hit aces, but there is still speed on it at around 110-112mph.
Her strategy is to set herself up for the opening shot in the rally, which she loves to go for. She plays ‘first-strike’ tennis, always wanting to dictate the point by getting her retaliation in first.
Not much goes wrong with her serve and you very rarely see her having to catch her ball toss
One word of warning. While watching her on Tuesday I thought that when serving on the deuce side she might be dragging her back foot (her right foot) across so that it fractionally goes over into the advantage side of the court. That is a fault, and there are a few players I have spotted doing it, but it rarely gets called.
I see the second serve as the area where she has an advantage over Venus. When they played each other in Miami this year she really hurt Williams’s more vulnerable second delivery on the return and she is going to have to do so again.
I also like the fact that Konta has been severely tested this fortnight and come through, which has not happened to Venus.
Konta has faced a tough run to make the semi-finals, including world No 2 Simona Halep
In comparison, her semi-final opponent Venus Williams has enjoyed an easy run so far
Konta will also derive confidence from her 3-2 career record against the American. But do not underestimate Venus, who is far more familiar with matches of this magnitude.?
She has two big assets on grass: her first serve skids through awkwardly and she likes the low bounce on her forehand, much more when she is having to play above her hips.
I will be very interested to see if Venus goes for a high first-serve percentage to protect her second serve, and maybe takes a bit off it to achieve more consistency.
Above all, the thing I have been most impressed about with Konta is her composure, and the crowd will surely make a difference. What really struck me on Tuesday was that this was the first time I had heard Andy Murray-type levels of support for her.
On balance I fancy it will be a first British women’s finalist for 40 years on Saturday.
On balance Konta is the slight favourite to make the Wimbledon final
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