Britain’s Johanna Konta, who this time last year was barely ranked inside the Top 50, continued her ascension up the WTA rankings on Friday in Australia with the title at the Apia International Sydney where she beat Agnieszka Radwanska in the final 6-4, 6-2.
The 25-year-old No. 10-ranked Konta had never appeared on anyone’s radar while rising up the rankings over the last few years, only cracking the Top 100 last year in her eighth year playing professional tournaments.
Radwanska made only nine unforced errors over the 18 games but the world No. 3 was still blown off the court by the Brit’s powerful baseline game.
“She was just playing unbelievable tennis from the beginning ’til the end,” Radwanska said. “And normally you’re thinking that she can’t play like this whole match and it’s gonna be even game or two that, you know, you can go forward because she’s gonna have some worse couple of games. But she didn’t. She was just playing whole match so aggressive with pretty much everything in, and I couldn’t do much.”
Born in Sydney, Konta also benefited from a partisan crown.
“It’s a bit like playing Fed Cup,” Konta told her coach during one of the WTA’s unique on-court coaching breaks.
Konta raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set before closing the match out for her second career WTA title.
“I’m just overall happy with how I was able to progress throughout this tournament,” Konta said. “I felt each match that I was playing I was thinking a little more clearly and getting that much more match-tight, as the saying is.”
The Brit will rise to a career-high No. 9 with the title.
“Obviously how I have done here, I take it as a really positive thing, as a nice reward along the way for the hard work that myself and my team have put in every day,” Konta said. “But it’s not a reflection of how next week will go, how the rest of the year will go. It’s back to everyday hard work, because that’s what dictates how I do.”
The British tennis association two years ago famously cut the funding of the now-Top 10er, who went on to work with in Spain with coaches Estaban Carril and Jose-Manuel Garcia.
She hopes to duplicate her breakout semifinal performance last year at the Australian Open where she upset No. 8 seed Venus Williams and No. 21 Ekaterina Makarova before being stopped in the semis by Angelique Kerber.
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