By Anita Stahl
- Elise Mertens  defeats Johanna Konta 7-6(4), 6-3
- Konta heading to Montreal with renewed pride in game
SAN JOSÉ, CALIFORNIA, USA – Johanna Konta bowed out of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic but with three singles and two doubles matches under her belt she is looking forward to the remainder of the US hard-court swing.
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Elise Mertens  def. Johanna Konta 7-6(4), 6-3
Belgian Elise Mertens  defeated Brit Johanna Konta 7-6(4), 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic. The 2016 champion of the tournament’s predecessor in Stanford blazed into the match with an early lead. Konta held serve in the first game, broke Mertens in the second, and took the third at love with two aces—all in nine minutes. Mertens played herself into the match after the assaulting first three games and held three times before breaking back for 4-5. In a first set tie-break, Mertens showed why she has made a run on the rankings this season, fighting past two set points.
Konta recounted the match for Britwatch, and demonstrated how she is turning the defeat into a positive experience as she heads into hard-court swing trying to collect as much match play as she can.
I think she served incredibly well and she served better and better as the match went on. I had the two set points in that first set. However, I hit a good return on that first set point and she hit an incredible running forehand winner and then she hit a great first serve.
Besides maybe a couple points here and there, where I could have done a little bit better, I think credit to her for how well she played and consistently played. I think I played one of the most in-form players in the world. She’s obviously playing really well and that’s a good test for me and those are the kind of players I want to be playing, who are playing very well and keep testing myself against them.
Speaking with press after the match, Mertens expressed how misleading Konta’s current No. 48 ranking is.
I think she started pretty well. I was just keeping my head cool. I know that she can play really well so I tried to control the game a little bit more. I knew I had to play aggressive but last time she played against me, that whole match was pretty steady. I learned a lot from that match and I just kept my head cool and my defense was pretty good and then I tried to play a bit more on the court not too wild, just more controlled.
I didn’t look at the ranking, I know she can beat a top-ten player for sure, she has that game. I think this is one of the big players that I’m really happy to beat today and of course I learned a lot from that last match and I think I played more controlled also in my head I knew a little more what to do.
Konta’s last quarter-final at a premier level tournament or higher was the 2017 Cincinnati Western and Southern Open and she is taking her time climbing back up the rankings with a match by match mentality.
I’m looking forward to going to Montreal, it’ll be another great opportunity for me to play. I’m enjoying competing. It’s never a straight upward trajectory, but I’m enjoying the challenge of the hardships and also the triumphs. I keep working hard, I keep putting the work in everyday and I believe that I’ll keep creating opportunities for me to keep going deeper into tournaments.
Konta is projected to rise to just outside the Top 40 with her run to the quarter-final.
The Rogers Cup in Montreal begins 6 August.
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