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By Ros Satar

  • Victoria Azarenka [13] def. Johanna Konta [24]
  • Just a step away from cracking the Top 20

MIAMI, USA – Johanna Konta bowed out of the Miami Open at the quarter-finals as she ran into an in-form Victoria Azarenka.

The Brit started boldly, not dropping a single point on serve in her first two service games against one of the best returners in the game, and it was taking the former World No. 1 some time to figure out her game. In fact it was Konta who brought up the first break point as Azarenka fought hard in a 9 minute service game to keep things on an even keel.

After all that effort it was indeed a tragedy as Konta dished up a double-fault to hand over a break to Azarenka, whose frustration was beginning to show that she couldn’t find a way past her. It was enough for Azarenka to hold on to, even if it did take her three set points and fending off a couple of break points to do it.

Azarenka is no doubt returning back to her best – she started to go up the gears while not surprisingly Konta began to fade a little. Another double-fault handed the first break over and a third pretty much knocked the final nail in the coffin.

The Belarusian is hunting down the Indian Wells/Miami double and on this form who could count her out for the title? She also had nothing but praise for the Brit.

“She’s such a great player and it’s interesting to see what sort of player she was last year and playing well here, so I see a lot of potential,” Azarenka said to ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez after the match, as reported by WTATennis.com. “I couldn’t actually get a read on her serve in the beginning – it was tough for me to adjust – but then I got a bit lower and tried to get more returns in, be a bit more aggressive.”

There are a lot of positives for Konta to take out of this. Her battle against Elena Vesnina in the fourth round was a gruelling battle for almost two and a half hours, and Azarenka is fully healthy and back on her way towards the Top 5.

The Brit is next scheduled to be at the Premier event in Stuttgart, which will afford her a decent break. She took a break after the Australian Open, and built up a good head of stream from Acapulco and Monterrey to her run in the ‘sunshine’ double.

Clay is her second strongest surface, currently with a win/loss stats of 57/40 and there are plenty of points on offer as last year she mainly competed on the dirt in the ITF so that upwardly mobile push up the rankings should pick up pace, not to mention not having to bash through Roland Garros qualifying, which she did before falling in the first round last year to Denisa Allertova.

This may well feel bruising for now, but there is no doubt she left it all on the court once more, and with her mental fortitude, we can expect her to take this all in her stride.

Speaking to BBC Sport in Miami, Konta said: “I do believe the few chances that I was able to create, she did an incredible job. I think maybe bar one, when I felt I could have maybe made a return – I think she really did win every single point. She definitely kept her claws in there and she took it way from me.”

She continued: “I’m happy with the level I was able to bring to the court. Obviously I’m disappointed that I couldn’t have done a little bit better but I’m taking the positives from it.”


The Miami Open women’s semi-finals will be played on Thursday, starting at 1pm (6pm BST).

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