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Monterrey | Konta fights back from the brink

Jo Konta fought her way back from the brink against Anastasia Potapova in the Abierto GNP Seguros quarter-finals on Friday, clawing out a win with a remarkable comeback from 2-5 down in the 3rd set that lasted 2 hours 41 minutes in Monterrey.

Personally I’m really pleased I’ve been able to come through such a tough match. Especially, it was the first of its kind for me this season, and to be able to come through it, I’m really pleased with it. Jo Konta

She saved 2 match points in the process, outlasting the Russian teenager, 6-7(6) 6-3 7-6(7), to reach her first semi-final of the year, where she will play 9th-seeded Marie Bouzkova from the Czech Republic, who beat eighth seed Wang Yafan, 6-2 7-5.

“I think the scoreline is quite obvious, it was an incredibly tough match,” Konta said, after her win. “Very tough conditions out there, it was very windy, very blustery, so it made it extra difficult for both of us to play, really.

“But I think overall, both of us played at a great level, we played a very exciting match for everybody who was there, watching.”

The World No16 staved off a match point at 5-3 in the decider, and another in the decisive final-set tiebreak, before edging past the 18-year-old Potapova and moving into her first semi-final since Roland Garros last spring

“Personally I’m really pleased I’ve been able to come through such a tough match,” Konta continued.

“Especially, it was the first of its kind for me this season, and to be able to come through it, I’m really pleased with it.”

The British No 1, who missed the last few months of 2019 due to a knee injury, matched Potapova with 8 aces and converted 4 of her 11 break points during her first meeting with the young Russian.

Potapova, the World No 89, who had made the quarter-finals in her last 3 events, was more effective at winning points off of her first serve than Konta, 71% to 67%, but was pipped at the post by the Brit in the closely contested clash, and was denied the third Top 20 win of her career.

“[Potapova] was playing very well, so she deserved to have those match points, and if she was going to win them with a great point, then she was going to win them,” Konta stated. “That takes nothing away from the quality of match I played.

“I had no reason to doubt I couldn’t stay out there longer, and ask more questions, and maybe set up some more opportunities for myself,” Konta added.

“That became the case and I’m quite pleased with that.”

In the top half of the draw, Elina Svitolina moved into her first semi-final of the season after ousting Leylah Fernandez on Friday night, ending another solid performance by the rising Canadian teenager, 6-3 7-5.

“I served well throughout the match,” Svitolina said after her win. “I saved a few break points which was really important in the second set.

“I think my serving tonight was the key for the match, and I’ll try to keep it up for the next ones.”

In the first meeting between the two players, the World No 7 and top seed was able to quell the fiery hitting of the 17-year-old after 98 minutes of play, and reach the final 4 of an event for the first time since her finalist run at last season’s year-ending Shiseido WTA Finals.

Svitolina was never broken in the clash, saving all 5 chances the young Canadian held, which all came in one game.

The Ukrainian finished the match with 5 aces and won 77 percent of points off of her first serve, while claiming over half of Fernandez’s second-service points.

“I was serving really well today, and for me it was important to be on my toes all the time, because I know [Fernandez] can start the point really well,” said Svitolina. “I tried to stay positive and take one ball at a time.”

Svitolina took charge at 5-5 in the second set, where she swept to triple break points after a series of unforced errors by Fernandez, deploying a drop volley winner to give her a love break and a 6-5 lead.

Serving for the match, Svitolina fell behind 0-30, but slammed 3 service winners in a row and sealed the deal on her first match point on a final forehand forcing another error from the Canadian.

“I was expecting she would come out and play really well, she won lots of matches last week as well,” the No 1 seed continued

“It was quite expected, and I tried to stay focused, tried to play every point as the last one.”

In the semis, Svitolina will meet Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, who convincingly took out No 6 seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden, 6-1 6-1, in the last quarter-final of the day.


Elina Svitolina

© Francois Nel/Getty Images




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