By Britwatch Tennis
- Angelique Kerber def. Johanna Konta 7-5 6-2
- Konta predicted to be inside the Top 30 in the new rankings
- Angelique Kerber makes her maiden Grand Slam
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Johanna Konta’s greatest Slam run in her career ended at the hands of Angelique Kerber, in the semi-final.
Both started a little tentatively, Konta saving three break points before being perhaps betrayed by the net-cord that booked her a place in the semi-final handed the opening game to Kerber.
Kerber looked to be fairly static in the opening games, getting punished as Konta went for the lines but settled the ship as she consolidated the early break, stretching out to a 3-0 lead.
As suddenly as they appeared, the nerves seemed to go for the Brit, who found her serve, some potent groundstrokes and a few passing winners to boot to suddenly put a bit more pep into her game, as she held to stay in contention with the German, before breaking back once more to put the match back on level terms.
A hold to love put the German on the back foot from such a commanding start as she began to show the inevitable frustration at having blown a 3-0 lead, as Konta steadied the ship to come back with two successive serves of her own.
Having seen her resolve during the quarter-final with Ekaterina Makarova, it was clear that Konta could hold her nerve when she had to, but Kerber managed to whittle the defenses down at the crucial end of the first set, cracking Konta with on a second break point to take a set advantage over the Brit.
It was enough to put the German on much surer ground, as she started the second set in much the same way as she had started the first, with a break and although Konta had a look at the Kerber serve in the second game once more, she just couldn’t break through, losing her serve one more time in the set, as Kerber booked her spot in her first Grand Slam final 7-5 6-2.
There was plenty for Konta to take away from this match, as she looks set to hit the Top 30 when the new rankings come out. With not many points to defend until the summer, there is plenty of opportunity for her to keep in the running for a French Open seeding.
She said: I played against a better player today who earned her right into a Grand Slam final. That’s how I view it. She played a really, really good match. That’s why she is the winner and I’m not today. I think that’s all you need to accept about that. But I’m really taking a lot of positive things from it. I’m really hungry to keep improving and keep enjoying what I’m doing.”
Kerber, joking that there would be a sense of German pride involved in preventing Serena Williams from equaling Steffi Graf’s record, but also that she hoped that Williams would respect that she has to play well to beat her. Williams breezed past Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0 6-4 in the first semi-final.
She said: I think she will have respect. I think she will go out there and she know that she must play also good tennis to beat me. I’m feeling good. I’m healthy. I’m fit. I will try to win against her. That’s for sure. I know it will be not easy.”
For Konta it is a well earned rest and a trip home – that’s Eastbourne, and not some Sydney suburb – and she is still planning on playing Fed Cup for Great Britain in their latest zonal challenge, assuming physically her body holds up.
Kerber and Williams will play the Australian Open Women’s single final on Saturday.
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