British No.1 Johanna Konta booked her place in the LTA’s Viking Open Nottingham quarter-finals with a 6-2 1-6 6-3 victory over Ukraine qualifier Kateryna Kozlova.
It was an incredibly tough match, she’s obviously playing really well on the surface and has beaten some tough players and I knew it wasn’t going to be a straightforward match. Johanna Konta
Konta looked fresh and raring to go from the start, wasting no time in breaking the Ukranian in the first game. On a lengthy point at 15-30, she played her opponent across both sides of the court before easing a backhand winner down the line to set up break points, which she took at the first chance of asking.
Her first serve was a big weapon in the opening set. When she needed it most, Konta unleashed two serves – one down the tee and another out wide – which Kozlova could barely get a racket to and then closed out the set with her fourth and fifth aces of the match.
With a one set lead, Konta started to come under pressure for the first time on serve. Kozlova pushed her to a lengthy deuce point and with a break point opportunity got the luck of the net cord as a cross court forehand trickled over the net.
Konta held for 3-1 but Kozlova was fully in the zone as mistakes began to creep in for the Brit. On a tight service game for the Ukrainian, Konta gifted her opponent a vital point with an uncharacteristic error, extending Kozlova’s lead to 4-1.
The World No.159 secured the double break and levelled the match at one set apiece.
With the second set behind her it was crucial that Konta started the decider on the front foot. At 1-1 she faced three break points but kept her cool to secure a pivotal hold, which gave her the confidence to push on in the match.
In the following game the Brit took her chance to go in front. With the Ukrainian charging into the net at 30-30 Konta brought one of the shots of the day with a backhand pass straight down the line, kicking up the paint on the baseline and setting her up to clinch the break.
In the end that was all she needed to book a place in her fourth quarter-final in the Viking Open Nottingham tournament. A kicker second serve, out wide, forced Kozlova to drag her return into the tramlines and brought an end to a tough two-hour eigh- minute match for the World No.20.
Addressing the fans at the end of the match, she said: “It was an incredibly tough match, she’s obviously playing really well on the surface and has beaten some tough players and I knew it wasn’t going to be a straightforward match. I’m just really happy to have fought hard and come through a match like that – it’s really great.”
All eyes were back on Centre Court for the final match of the day as Billie Jean King Cup teammates Heather Watson and Katie Boulter went head-to-head.
A high quality first set saw both players dazzle throughout, hitting winners from all areas of the court and despite a couple of breaks mid-way through, the match remained evenly poised. On a decisive point in the tie-break at 3-3, Boulter was left visibly frustrated at a call that hadn’t gone her way, but it only seemed to fire her up – she won the next four points and celebrated a well-earned lead.
Boulter, who is supported by the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme, never looked back from there – in the third game of the second set she broke Watson to love and served impeccably to seal her third win over a top 100 opponent this week, 7-6(4) 6-3.
She said “I love this court – I feel like I play some really good matches on it and I’m really proud of myself, it was a really good match.”