Konta keeps rolling in Nottingham, faces Rybarikova in Semi-Final
By Ros Satar
- Johanna Konta  def. Ashleigh Barty 6-3 7-5
- Faces Magdalena Rybarikova next
- H2H: Konta leads 1-0
NOTTINGHAM, UK –Johanna Konta booked her spot in the Aegon Open semi-final for the first time, and will challenge a previous opponent, Magdalena Rybarikova for a spot in the final.
Johanna Konta  def. Ashleigh Barty 6-3 7-5
It was a familiar pattern as Konta struck first for a quick lead. She continued to pressure Barty in subsequent service games for the Aussie, who managed to hold on to her serve staving off six break points before Konta broke her once more the wrap up the first set.
Yet once more there was just a fractional wobble from the Brit, as Barty was the first to break to edge ahead in the second set. Konta kept her head eventually breaking back to get things back on serve, before a double-fault handed Konta a final break for the match.
“I only had one little dip but I tried to stay strong. I felt I was able to raise my game. It was difficult out here again with the conditions, but overall I thought we played a very good match.
“I’m enjoying it [being in both the singles and doubles events]. It’s a real opportunity to have a little more time on the grass. I’m just looking to keep competing well and try and execute my game plan as much as I can with each match that I’m playing.”
Konta has teamed up with her second round opponent Yanina Wickmayer and they will face Monique Adamczak and Storm Sanders for a spot in the doubles final too.
Konta v Magdalena Rybarikova – Konta leads 1-0
Before we get ahead of ourselves, Konta meets a very in-form player on a successful return to the tour after struggling with injury. Only back on tour in February this year after last taking to the court in Wimbledon last year, Rybarikova has lifted herself from just inside the Top 500 earlier this year to just outside the Top 100.
Of course the last time she confronted Konta was in 2015, where Konta’s rise up the ranks really took hold here. Rybarikova joked in her on-court interview with Annabel Croft that the last time they met she saw ‘wild-card’ next to Konta’s name and became a casualty as Konta beat the then No. 7 seed.
Now it is very much roles reversed. Konta comes in not only as a home crowd favourite but as the top seed and an established player in the Top 10. The pressure will be on her, and Rybarikova comes in with a lot of confidence. Last week she weathered the soggy conditions in Surbiton at the ITF level, beating Britain’s Heather Watson in the final. As we have seen this week, she has been on point with her serving, and builds a point well. She can slice, hit a solid forehand and can come in strongly at the net so we can expect Konta to be moved about a lot.
If the wind is as sprightly as it has been all week, it present some challenges. Konta has the experience to come through this, but could face a tough battle.
Konta said, of the forthcoming match-up: “She’s an incredibly talented and effective player, especially on this surface. I know she also won the $100k in Surbiton so she’s definitely coming in with quite a bit of match fitness. I’m sure she’s playing with quite a bit of confidence.”
It is the start of potentially a very busy month for Konta, who will be very much fancied to go deep into the draws at Birmingham and Eastbourne as well as advancing past the second round at Wimbledon for the first time in her career.
The little dips she has had have been quickly overcome thus far, but in Rybarikova’s form, she could push Konta in the semi-final.
Prediction: Konta in three sets.
Konta and Rybarikova are scheduled not before 1pm BST.
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