Wuhan Open: Konta inches closer to world’s top ten
WUHAN: Briton Johanna Konta stepped closer to joining the world’s top ten after downing Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in a tight battle to reach the Wuhan Open quarter-finals yesterday.
Konta won the epic, nearly hour-long first set and was then forced into a tie-break by the Spaniard in the second.
Eighth-ranked Navarro was on the brink of taking that set when Konta romped through five consecutive points to win the match 7-5, 7-6 (8/6).
“I was fully prepared to obviously play a third [set] if need be,” said Konta. “I really just tried to be brave and just play the way I wanted to play throughout the whole match and those points as well.”
The Briton reached the Australian Open semi-final at the start of the year and won her maiden WTA title in July, which saw her rise to 13th in the world.
She is now points away from being the first British woman in a generation to join the ranks of the top ten — and has a chance to qualify for the first time for the eight-player WTA Final in Singapore.
In a veterans’ third round matchup, former world number two Svetlana Kuznetsova beat seven-time grand slam champion Venus Williams in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.
The pair have more than three decades on the professional circuit between them but had not met on court for seven years.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the age scale, teenager Daria Kasatkina of Russia fell to 21-year-old American Madison Keys.
Keys will meet fourth seed Simona Halep in the last eight after she defeated Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova, despite being knocked dizzy and forced to retire from a doubles match a day earlier.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2016.