Miami | Konta steams through to last 16
Jo Konta made the big-time at Miami last year crashing into the top 10 after winning her first WTA Mandatory title but ever since her run into the semi-finals at Wimbledon, her form has ebbed somewhat, but it looks as if she is recapturing it as she stormed into the last 16 at this year’s Miami Open.
And it couldn’t come at a better time as she is defending a large number of points to protect her current ranking of 14 as she swept past the Australian Open semi-finalist Elise Mertens in 65-minutes, 6-2 6-1.
“I'm happy I was able to execute that well. I've got a great relationship with this tournament and some incredibly special memories from last year Jo Konta
During the match the British No.1 impressed with her positivity which took her Belgian opponent ranked 21, by surprise forcing her into some wayward play.
“Elise is a really good player and she has played some great tennis at the beginning of the year. I knew I had to not give her the opportunity to do what she does well and take time away from her,” Konta explained. “I’m happy I was able to execute that well. I’ve got a great relationship with this tournament and some incredibly special memories from last year.”
The defending champion got off to an impressive start and dictated play virtually throughout the match, breaking Mertens, who delivered six double faults in the opening set, for 3-2 and then 5-2.
She took full control when she broke for 2-1 in the second set and collected the next four games to storm into the fourth round where Venus Williams awaits.
And her match stats certainly highlighted her return to form with 23 winners and just 17 unforced errors while Mertens produced just 11 winners with 26 unforced errors.
Konta will have to maintain that level if she is to get past the 8th seeded Williams who battled her way past Kiki Bertens in a three-hour marathon.
For a brief moment it looked as if another big name would be eliminated as Williams dropped the first set and then trailed 1-4 in the third before coming through 5-7 6-3 7-5, revealing after her win that she was not sure how she had turned the match which had 15 breaks of serve, around.
“I had a lot of chances; she had a lot of chances. It didn’t look good sometimes but that’s why you keep playing to the last point and why I love this game.”
In other matches Australian Ashleigh Barty, the 21st seed, took down Croatia’s Petra Martic 6-4 6-3; Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig beat Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-3 7-5; French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko eliminated Haddad Maia 6-2 7-6(2); Petra Kvitova recovered form a set down to defeat Sofia Kenin, an American Qualifier, 3-6 6-2 6-4 and Ukraine’s’ Elina Svitolina took out Australia’s Daria Gavrilova 4-6 6-0 6-1.