By Ros Satar, at Roland Garros
- Marketa Vondrousova def. Johanna Konta  7-5 7-6(2)
- Yet to win a set in a slam semi-final
- Should find herself back in the Top 20 following her Roland Garros run
PARIS, FRANCE – Sadly it was a case of déjà vu for Johanna Konta as she edged out of a spot in a maiden Slam final losing to Marketa Vondrousova in two tight sets.
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Marketa Vondrousova def. Johanna Konta  7-5 7-6(2)
After all the delays, the poor projected weather, the scheduling controversies, Johanna Konta and Marketa Vondrousova found themselves in the desert wilderness of Court Simonne-Mathieu on a murky day in Paris to play one of the biggest matches of their lives.
It could not have been a better start for Konta, breaking early for the lead as the nerves certainly seemed to have affected Vondrousova the worst. As the Czech started to find her way on the court, in amongst the dust swirls and threatening rain drops, she nagged away at Konta breaking back on her fifth try, only to be pegged straight back by the Brit, to regain the advantage.
Konta might well replay her chances to break for the first set many times in the future with a howler of a drive volley that would not look out of place in Augusta with a driver instead of a racquet, and squandering two more chances to claim her first set in a semi-final, before losing her serve to put Vondrousova ahead for the first time in the match before being broken once to lose the set.
The next set saw a similar pattern, with an early break by Konta and a tight affair thereafter until another tight game while serving for the set saw Vondrousova claim the break back. This time Konta was able to force the tie-break and the Brit fell behind early and was never really able to get back on terms with Vondrousova.
That it was a tight two-set loss will not matter, as Konta searches for her first set in a Slam semi-final.
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Konta: ‘I lost a tennis match, but I also won five’
After the match she said: “I just thought I tried to do the best that I could with the conditions and with my opponent. It’s hard to lose any match like this, but, I think my opponent played really well. I’m proud in how I tried to find a way out there. I’m proud in how I tried to work the points, how I tried to play out there against her. It just didn’t go my way.
“I definitely don’t regret anything I did out there. And even the following point I think I hit a slice that maybe hit the tape. To be honest, I, again, I feel very comfortable with how I played and what I tried to do out there.
“I think she reads the game really well, so she would get a lot of balls back. With her being a lefty, she has that added variety with the way the ball comes back, is going to be different than 95% of the time that we play matches out there.
“I think she competes really well, as well. There are very few drop-offs from how she plays. So she’s consistently there asking questions. She asks you a lot of questions out there, and I think that’s a real gift of hers.”
Parallels are starting to be drawn to Andy Murray’s gradual progress towards Slams. He was in a number of finals before he finally made his breakthrough. Konta has now reached the semi-finals of three separate Slams, on all three surfaces.
“I’m putting myself into positions to try to make that extra step and making into a final. It’s either going to happen or it’s not.
“I still have a lot to be proud of. So, I’m not at all disappointed in the player that I am or things that I have achieved. But equally, I’m just as hungry and just as motivated to keep going forward and to one day be in a position to be winning a major. But I definitely believe in my ability to do that, and we’ll see if it happens or not.
“There is nothing for me to be disappointed in or upset about. I mean, I lost a tennis match, but I also won five. I can only take the good things from that. Because even today, I lost the match, but like I said when I sat down, I did the best that I could and I’m proud of that effort. I’m proud of that achievement in itself. So, I can only look forward to playing at Wimbledon and the tournaments before that.”
Talking of the tournaments – in the past the LTA has made great use of Konta and the rest of the Brits to promote the Nature Valley series of tournaments in Nottingham, Birmingham and ending in Eastbourne, before Wimbledon. However, in past years, Konta has exited stage right in the first week with plenty of time to recuperate after the clay court season and prepare for 3-5 weeks of continual green stuff.
However, this time there might have to be a change to the plan, if she wants to give herself the best chance of repeating this run at Wimbledon.
“I’m going to assess now, see where my body is, kind of see where I am and just how I want to map out my lead-up into Wimbledon, see what I want to play, how I want to play. I am down for three, but obviously I need to make sure I give my body enough rest to prepare, for sure. We will see how I manage it.”
The Nature Valley Open in Nottingham takes place between 10-16 June.
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