By Ros Satar
- Johanna Konta  def. Dominika Cibulkova  6-4 6-2
- Will face top seed Venus Williams in a bid to win her first tour title
- H2H: 1-1
STANFORD, CALIFORNIA USA – Britain’s Johanna Konta quite literally roared into her first WTA tour final with an aggressive straight sets win over second seed Dominika Cibulkova, where she will meet top seed Venus Williams.
Johanna Konta  def. Dominika Cibulkova  6-4 6-2
From the outset, Konta impressed with her movement forward, clean hitting and aggressive play as she set about dismantling former champion Cibulkova’s attempt to reach the Stanford final.
Having had to battle past the tricky Zheng Saisai, Konta’s volleying (not the best shot in her arsenal) seemed to be firing much better as she dictated the pace in the first set, capitalising on an early break, and not panicking as Cibulkova pressured her with three breakpoints of her own.
Konta missed out on a chance to break for the first set, but did not let that bother her as she confidently served out the first set to love.
She tried to carry that momentum through as Cibulkova battled hard in the first game of the second set but held on to her serve, only for Konta to break on the next opportunity.
Dominant serving kept the Slovakian at bay until Konta could break once more, serving out strongly for a place in her first WTA final.
— BOTW Classic (@BOTWClassic) July 23, 2016
As reported in WTATennis.com, she spoke on-court about what it meant to her, saying: “It’s a release of emotions, because I felt I needed to do a very good job of focusing on myself, my own game. And I was very happy I was able to do that and that’s what happens when you try to stay calm for so long.”
Johanna Konta  v Venus Williams  – H2H: 1-1
With the prospect of US Open fourth round points to defend, her debut here in Stanford and next week in Montreal could well help Konta get into form, but there is a lot of tennis to come, including her Olympic debut.
Meanwhile there is nothing much left for Williams to achieve, and her resurgence has been joyous to watch, as she bids for a third title. Konta was edged by Williams in their first encounter last year in the Wuhan quarter-final, but it was a visibly hampered Williams that met the Brit at the very start of her Australian Open run.
She joked at the time that she had only wanted to at least be on court for over an hour, but that was where her steely resolve helped her to get to the semi-final and there is no doubt she is building on all her experiences.
Yet Williams has been here many times before – this is indeed her eighth final in California, but the tennis gods have only been on her side twice (2000, 2002) with five runner-up places to her name.
The aggressiveness and calm that Konta has become known for will need to be in full effect – moving forward will be key, but she needs to remember that Williams at the net with her long wingspan will be a very different prospect.
Williams is playing well but has always been prone to throwing in errors along with her own powerful serving and aggressive baseline play. There has even been chatter about the similarity of their backhands, so this will be an intriguing match-up.
We anticipate it will be as close as their first encounter in Wuhan (6-4 3-6 7-5) with both very much in form and hungry for the win here.
This is winnable for Konta, but it is going to take her best tennis to beat Williams.
Prediction: Konta in three sets.
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