By Ros Satar, at Roland Garros

  • Johanna Konta [26] def. Sloane Stephens [7] 6-1 6-4
  • Faces Marketa Vondrousova | H2H tied at 1-1
PARIS, FRANCE – Johanna Konta stunned last year’s finalist Sloane Stephens and faces talented teen Marketa Vondrousova for a place in the final.

 

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Johanna Konta [26] def. Sloane Stephens [7] 6-1 6-4

Sloane Stephens in the second round of Roland Garros 2019, France

Sloane Stephens in the second round of Roland Garros 2019, France | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

British No. 1 Johanna Konta just continues to take everything in her stride. Coming into her quarter-final against Sloane Stephens, the pair had met only twice, both this year, with Konta coming out on top both times.

Stephens batted away the win in Brisbane, coach-less and drifting at the start of the year, and attributed the loss in Rome to just the general emotions of the day of double-headers after a day of play was washed out.

Konta’s game-plan was to dictate play and stop Stephens from getting into any kind of rhythm. As always, when the Brit’s serve is firing, all other aspects of her game fall in line behind it. The drop-shots that so often make us dive behind the sofa were pulling a listless-looking Stephens around the place – that is when she could even move her feet.

Konta just about admitted this could be one of the best games, but still offered up the caveat that not all matches are equal.

“It’s definitely one of my best performances. It’s hard to pinpoint what is the best performance, because you’re always dealing with different types of opponents or different types of conditions. Or even if you’re playing the same opponent, it’s still going to be a different match.”

 

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Konta v Marketa Vondrousova | H2H tied at 1-1

Marketa Vondrousova in the third round of Roland Garros 2019, France

Marketa Vondrousova in the third round of Roland Garros 2019, France | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Konta’s trials are not over by a long shot before we get too carried away with her winning every Slam going from this point on! Marketa Vondrousova came out the winner between an intense cat and mouse battle with Petra Martic, who started the more dominant and was close to leading before Vondrousova completely turned the tables on her.

Underestimate the leftie Czech at your peril. She defeated Konta in Indian Wells in her opener, in a close two-setter at a time when Konta’s confidence was still fluctuating. It was a different story in a rained-out Rome where Vondrousova was coming off the infamous day of double-headers, and it showed physically as she could barely move. However, this time her movement, shot placement and danger is all on show.

This is a new slate, and a maiden Slam final is up for grabs. What Konta has done very well is finding a way to adapt and play her game on clay, and it is not as though she did not know how to play on the stuff, but this year she has the belief. That in itself is a dangerous thing for Vondrousova to face.

The dangers in playing the Czech leftie is making sure that movement is sharp and on point, and if Konta thinks she is getting more adept at the art of the drop-shot, then welcome to the kid who has written the book on it. The variety and deftness already at a young age is a huge advantage for Vondrousova.

This is tough to call and perhaps Konta has a slight edge down to experience of being in this situation twice before.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

 

 

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