Konta wins the bat­tle of Bri­tain as Wat­son is over­pow­ered

The Guardian - - SPORT - Eleanor Crooks

Jo­hanna Konta won the all-British bat­tle against Heather Wat­son to reach the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Na­ture Val­ley Open in Not­ting­ham.

It was a sec­ond meet­ing on the WTA Tour for Bri­tain’s top two fe­male play­ers and, like the pre­vi­ous one in In­dian Wells last year, Konta came out on top.

The windy con­di­tions made life dif­fi­cult for both play­ers but ul­ti­mately it was the ex­tra power of Konta, who reached the fi­nal here 12 months ago, that made the dif­fer­ence in a 6-4, 7-6 (5) vic­tory.

Konta’s con­fi­dence re­mains frag­ile but, aside from a host of er­rors at the net, this was a good per­for­mance from the 27-year-old. Wat­son strug­gled to deal with the Konta re­turn in par­tic­u­lar, and a sin­gle break in the fifth game was enough to de­cide the open­ing set. Wat­son made the bet­ter start to the sec­ond and led 4-1 but Konta fought back and edged a close tie-break.

Konta said: “One hun­dred per cent it was not easy and con­di­tions made it that much harder. It’s never easy to play a com­pa­triot. I just tried to keep my fo­cus on my side of the court. I feel for­tu­nate to come through, there was very lit­tle in it.

“It was not easy for ei­ther of us and the con­di­tions made it harder here,” Konta said. “It is never easy play­ing a com­pa­triot. I feel for­tu­nate be­cause there was very lit­tle in it.”

The No 4 seed, who will next face Slove­nia’s Dalila Jakupovic, was the sec­ond British player to make it through to the last eight after an ex­cel­lent win for Katie Boul­ter over the for­mer US Open cham­pion Sam Sto­sur.

The 21-year-old wild card will play in a WTA Tour quar­ter-fi­nal for the first time fol­low­ing a 7-6 (6), 6-1 tri­umph and is set to break into the world’s top 50. Boul­ter, the British No 4, said: “It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing. It’s a huge step for me. She’s a grand slam win­ner and it’s the first one of those that I’ve beaten.

“It was a re­ally quick sec­ond set but I dug in re­ally deep in the first. I thought I held my nerve re­ally well and found a way to win.” Boul­ter’s re­ward is a quar­ter-fi­nal meet­ing with the top seed Ash­leigh Barty, who brushed aside China’s Duan Yingy­ing 6-3, 6-2.

“I feel like I al­ways play well in Not­ting­ham,” Barty said. “So hope­fully it’s third time lucky.” The Aus­tralian has been beaten in the quar­ter-fi­nals in the last two edi­tions of the tour­na­ment.

Mean­while, the Ar­gen­tinian Fed­erico Co­ria has been banned for eight months and fined $10,000 for an­ticor­rup­tion of­fences. Six months of the ban and half of the fine was sus­pended on con­di­tion there were no fur­ther of­fences by Co­ria, the brother of Guillermo Co­ria, a French Open fi­nal­ist in 2004. He can re­sume play­ing from 12 Au­gust.

Jo­hanna Konta pow­ers her way to vic­tory

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.