By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [1] def. Caroline Garcia [11] 6-2 6-2
  • Faces Elina Svitolina in the semi-final
ZHUHAI, CHINA – British No. 1 Johanna Konta backed up her season-ending Top 10 spot with a dominating win over Caroline Garcia to set up a semi-final clash with Elina Svitolina

 

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Johanna Konta [1] def. Caroline Garcia [11] 6-2 6-2

Konta was swift off the mark in what started as a very evenly heavy hitting contest from the pair. Breaking before the first sit-down, backing it up ably to build up a double-break cushion, as she coaxed errors from the Frenchwoman.

Even the merest blip of the first break point in the set for Garcia was met with an ace on a second save to save it, as her serve rendered Garcia stationery.

Did you blink and miss the first set? Well no problem as Konta gave the crowd an instant replay – breaking in exactly the same places for another double-break insurance policy, and once more while serving for the match, Garcia dug into the Konta serve for a solitary break point, but to no avail with Konta serving it out.

Speaking on court after the match, as reported in WTATennis.com, Konta said: “I really felt I played a very consistent match. I didn’t give her many windows and I’m very happy I managed to do that today. She has such a big game so I really needed to apply myself on every point.”

She will face Elina Svitolina in the semi-final and could be one step closer to the biggest title of her career, but in typical Konta form, she refused to think that far ahead.

“Right now, it’s just one more match tomorrow. I’m not looking any further than that. I’m going to have a very tough one and looking to compete as best I can.”

 

Konta v Elina Svitolina – H2H: Svitolina leads 1-0

Before we get too angsty about the head to head – it happened a long time ago at the lower tiers in 2013, and it is safe to say a lot has happened to both players since then. Svitolina’s rise into the Top 20 last year followed progressive advances into the Top 50 and Top 30 and much has been written about her potential.

But perhaps she had stalled somewhat, until she brought Justine Henin on board as a specialist consultant. Since then the Ukrainian has beaten two World No. 1s – knocking Serena Williams out of the Olympics and ousting Angelique Kerber out of Beijing, so she can bring the power to the court.

An aggressive player, she has worked to improve her serve and has heavy and powerful groundstrokes – so will match Konta stroke for stroke in that department. One area that Konta was practicing through was her drive volleys at the net – which has been pretty effective, although her pick-ups sometimes are a bit hit and miss, she is at her best coming forward behind her serve and punching out a quick winner.

Her serving against Garcia was on point – even acing on her second serve to get herself out of trouble – Svitolina can rely on her own power to maybe keep Konta at bay, but with her form this week it is hard not to see her hit a third final this year.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

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