Jo KontaÈs victory at the Miami Open has launched the British No1 into the upper levels of the womenÈs game and must now be considered a contender for grand slam titles. At present only the Czech Karolina Pliskova is the better in-form player on the circuit.
Where we go from here is to continue working hard
Her 6-4 6-3 victory over the former world No1 Caroline Wozniacki to win a Premier Mandatory event, is the most prestigious title won by a British woman in over four decades, namely since Virginia WadeÈs 1977 Wimbledon triumph. It has also elevated her into seventh position on the world rankings and on present form, is a player who others will want to avoid.
In just two years she has blossomed from being a journeyman on the tour with confidence problems, always showing indecision when the crunch came at crucial moments in a match. With the help of a psychologist that is now history.
She has a steely focus, a deceptive, albeit unconventional, serve and a termination which belies the problems she had in the past.
On paper she was always the favourite to win the final but Wozniacki has also shown the sort of form which propelled her to the top of the rankings despite having now slipped down them to 14th. Her tenacity, retrieval and defensive abilities provide opponents with plenty of problems but Konta had the psychological advantage of having beaten her for the loss of just four games at the Australian Open.
And so it turned out in Miami as Konta hit twice as many winners as her Danish Opponent, 33, including 5 aces and making 19 unforced errors in the 95-minute final which also saw Wozniacki receive some attention to her foot but it didnÈt seem to hamper her.
Speaking after her win, Konta said: It’s all kind of sinking in. I think going into any match, but also against someone like Caroline who’s such as athlete and can really stay out there as long as she needs to, it was really important for me to straightaway assert myself in the manner I wanted to play just so I had it clear in my head and give myself the best chance of executing what I wanted to tactically."
Konta, who has now appeared in four WTA finals and won three of them, added: Where we go from here is to continue working hard. ThatÈs what I love most about this sport. I love trying to get better every day and having opportunities like these to get a pat on the back is very rewarding.
Wozniacki was rueful: "I tried to fight. She played really aggressively. She played well. You know, I kind of gave the game away at 4-all in the first set, and then missed a couple break points at 4-5. Those are the ones that you need to take if you want to win a match like this."
Having reached her highest ever ranking, Konta has set her eyes on the top one and considering what the 25 year-old from Eastbourne has achieved, who would bet against it.