Having lost her first four career matches at the French Open, Johanna Konta now finds herself in the semifinals on Thursday. What a transformation!
The 28-year-old today cruised past 2018 finalist Sloane Stephens, beating the American for a third time this year with a 6-1, 6-4 victory.
“It’s definitely one of my best performances,” said Konta. “I feel really pleased with how I dealt with the conditions out there and just how I gave myself space to play. I thought I played the game, which I was just really pleased with. Just happy.”
While Konta rolled in the first set, in some respects her second set was just as impressive as she lost just one single point on serve and that came on a double fault.
“Whenever I step out onto the court, I’m always going to have a chance,” Konta added. “I don’t think any player on tour can go on court against me and feel like they’ve definitely got it. I definitely back myself and my ability that way. But then I also accept… that it’s not all on my racquet. I also accept that my opponent has a say in things out there, as well.”
Afterward, Stephens admitted Konta was just too good on the day.
“Obviously she played well,” Stephens said. “She was serving really well. There is not much you can do when someone is playing like that. She definitely played her game today.
“Just wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t get a chance to really get into the match, but sometimes that happens.”
Konta becomes the first British woman in the French semifinals since Jo Durie in 1983.
In the late match, 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova earned her first Slam semifinal holding off Petra Martic 7-6(1), 7-5 in just under two hours.
Martic held the early lead but the young Czech went on a tear ripping some 20 of 22 points, taking the first then going up a break in the second. Martin began clawing back as Vondrousova tensed up so close to the end as a matchpoint was erased and the score was lever at 5-all. With light fading, Vondrousova got another break and pulled it out.
Vondrousova becomes the first teen to make the French semifinals since Jelena Ostapenko two years ago.
“[Ostapenko] did amazing things that year, and she was the same age as me,” Vondrousova said, acknowledging the Latvian’s performance was, and remains, an inspiration – and something she is now just two wins away from replicating herself. “I mean, it’s very tough to win these matches and, like, win seven matches in a row. It’s like a dream now, and I’m just very happy.”
The two met in Rome where Konta won but the Czech took a hard court meeting last year at Indian Wells.
“She has great form and it’s going to be tough match, but we’ll see,” Vondrousova said of Konta.
“In the semifinals I think anything can happen. I think it’s going to be very tough and a great match. I just can’t wait to play.”
Tomorrow, defending champion Simona Halep will face 17-year-old American phenom Amanda Anisimova. On Lenglen, 2018 semifinalist Madison Keys will collide with first-time French quarterfinals Ash Barty.
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