By Ros Satar
- Johanna Konta continues her run of form battling past World No. 2 Simona Halep in three sets 6-3 3-6 7-5.
- Konta came from 1-5 down in the decider to stun the World No. 2 and faces another former World No. 1 in Venus Williams for a place in the semi-finals.
Wuhan, China – Johanna Konta continued her fabulous run of form as she fought back from the brink of defeat to beat World No. 2 and WTA hard-court wins leader Simona Halep for a place in the Wuhan Open quarter-finals.
It was another swift start from Konta as she broke Halep in the Romanian’s first service game, and stayed ahead that single break, needing just the one set point to take the lead. Halep was having none of that though, reeling off seven out of eight games from 4-3 in the second set to level the match and seemingly looked like a shoe-in for the quarter-finals with a 5-1 lead in the decider.
Konta nibbled her way back, putting pressure on Halep each time she attempted to servie it out winning the next six games and winning it emphatically with just the single match point, to break Halep for the third straight time.
Having put paid to former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the previous round, she will pull on that experience as she faces another muti-Slam winner and former No. 1 in Venus Williams, who has been playing solidly this week. It is another first time meeting.
Konta has a couple more matches at this tournament under her belt, with Williams having arrived with a run to the quarter-final at the US Open. The veteran passed the 700th career win in the previous round, and backed it up by breezing past Carla Suarez Navarro and had already despatched World No. 7 Agnieszka Radwanska in the opening round – her sixth win over the Top 10 this year.
Konta’s deliberate measured game will need to contend with the trademark Williams power from the baseline but Williams is an attacking all courter, so if Halep had her scrambling around for over two hours, Williams could keep her out there for a while too. Konta will need to be resolute on her returning game to get on the end of the explosive serving that can come across, although she can be prone to a rash of errors, and Konta will need to be ready to capitalise.
What she will lack in matching power, she needs to make up for in determination and guile, but being the unknown quantity is a great weapon to have in itself and on this run of form, she stands as good a chance as any other match this week to advance still further.
Konta and Williams are scheduled on Centre Court, not before 6:30pm (11:30am BST).