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Johanna Konta plays down importance of impressive Sloane Stephens record

:Headline: Johanna Konta plays down importance of impressive Sloane Stephens record:
Konta has won all three of her previous meetings with Stephens this year.

Johanna Konta played down the psychological advantage she will have over Sloane Stephens when they play each other once again in the third round of Wimbledon.

It will be a third meeting in two months between the British number one and the former US Open champion, and Konta will be chasing a hat-trick of victories.

After battling to a three-set win at the Italian Open in Rome in May, Konta produced arguably the best performance of her career to defeat Stephens in the quarter-finals of the French Open for the loss of just five games.

This will be the third different surface on which they have met this season, with Konta also winning on hard courts in Brisbane in January, and grass should favour the British player more then the other two.

But Konta does not feel she is a significant favourite, saying: "I don't see it like that. Obviously what I do take from having played her recently is that I've got a fresh take on what her ball is like, what it's like to be on court against her.

"In terms of the challenges that come in the match, they will be different than they were in Paris, Rome or Brisbane. One, we're playing on a different surface. Two, we're constantly adapting, trying to find different ways to challenge each other.

"Like in every other match I've played her this year, it's going to be a tough match. There's no guarantees for it to go my way and no guarantees for it to go her way. I'm just looking forward to playing that game."

Konta's performance against Stephens in Paris was the peak of her remarkable clay-court campaign. Chris Evert, who was working for TV, said afterwards: "I am speechless, and not many matches make me speechless."

Stephens had reached the Roland Garros final in 2018 but she was blown off the court by a display of power and precision from Konta, who dropped only one point on serve in the second set.

"I definitely played a very good match," said the 28-year-old. "I think I played a consistently good match, which made it difficult for Sloane to get a hold into the match, get any momentum. I think that probably made it tough for her."

Konta did not pull up any trees in her grass-court warm-up events but has not put a foot wrong at Wimbledon so far in victories over Ana Bogdan and Katerina Siniakova.

Sloane Stephens has been in good from so far this Wimbledon (Victoria Jones/PA)

Stephens, meanwhile, has found grass more to her liking this year and is bidding to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time since 2013.

For only the second time in the last 33 years, there are two British women through to the third round.

It would be a major shock if more than one made it any further, though, with Harriet Dart facing the formidable task of trying to stop world number one Ashleigh Barty's winning run.

The Australian has won 14 straight matches taking in her maiden grand slam title in Paris and another tournament win in Birmingham that propelled her to the top of the rankings.

Barty has only dropped 10 games in two matches so far, while Dart had never won a main draw match at a grand slam prior to this week.

The 22-year-old said: "My next match is a big match. There's no question about it. I'm playing the best player in the world at the moment and whose form has been unbelievable. It's just a great opportunity for me to see where my tennis is at."

Dart's first target will be simply to get on the board having suffered the dreaded double bagel against Maria Sharapova the last time she took on a star of the game in the first round of the Australian Open.

"I think especially this week I've handled a lot of situations pretty well," said the Londoner. "I'm just really happy about that. I think mentally I'm improving all the time."

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool29271166214582
2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
4Chelsea29146951391248
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28111073025543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs29118104740741
9Arsenal2891364036440
10Burnley29116123440-639
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
12Everton29107123746-937
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14Southampton29104153552-1734
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
17Watford2969142744-1727
18Bournemouth2976162947-1827
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool29271166214582
2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
4Chelsea29146951391248
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28111073025543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs29118104740741
9Arsenal2891364036440
10Burnley29116123440-639
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
12Everton29107123746-937
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2998122541-1635
14Southampton29104153552-1734
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
17Watford2969142744-1727
18Bournemouth2976162947-1827
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721
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