By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [16] def. Karolina Pliskova [3] 6-7(1) 6-3 7-5
  • Faces Elina Svitolina, searching for her first win against the Ukrainian
NEW YORK, USA – Johanna Konta reached the final of the US Open for the first time with a hard fought win over Karolina Pliskova, to face Elina Svitolina next.

 

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Johanna Konta [16] def. Karolina Pliskova [3] 6-7(1) 6-3 7-5

British No. 1 Johanna Konta broke yet another one of Jo Durie’s milestones, becoming the first British woman since Durie in 1983 to reach the US Open quarter-finals with a hard-fought win over No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova.

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From the start of the match it looked as though it would be another customary quick and dominating start for Konta as she broke the Czech in the first game of the match and continued to put Pliskova’s serve under pressure. The serving was not great at the start from Pliskova and it showed but as she warmed up, she started to turn the tables, breaking Konta to love to level, and eventually forcing a tie-break.

From there, Konta’s game fell away dramatically as the tie-break was all one-way traffic, with Konta just winning her first serve and then losing minibreaks the rest of the way. At the start of set neither could hold serve for the first three games, but it was Pliskova who ended up ahead as she became the first to hold, leading 1-3 in the second before suddenly her game abandoned her, giving Konta first a chance to level, and then to take the lead in the set for the first time, before saving two break points on the way to claiming the second set.

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There was little to separate them in the decider, with the only break coming for Konta in the penultimate game before closing out a tight game, again saving a break point on the way.

After the match, she said: “I think I’m just overall pleased because, kind of like my first round, every match is difficult in its own way, but I know that, like with everyone, there’s always going to be certain players or certain types of game styles that are just more difficult for each player to play against.

“Obviously my record shows that I find it difficult to play against Karolina. I’m just pleased I was able to basically just find a way and enjoy being out there, knowing that nothing was for certain. I could have lost that match just as easily as I would have won it.”

 

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Konta v Elina Svitolina [5] | Svitolina leads H2H 4-0

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It will need to be another monumental effort to redress the balance of their head to head which is decidedly in favour of the No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina. Much like Pliskova, Svitolina has been largely under the radar in the past week but has yet to drop a set as she too makes the quarter-finals for the first time in New York.

Svitolina will certainly be able to match Konta for aggressive play but what has impressed about the Brit has been her introduction of more variety to her game which, if she can keep her serving percentages up and keep having luck with the dreaded drop-shots and more slicing and dicing to her shots, she might be able to shake Svitolina off the baseline and maybe challenge her volleying.

Svitolina said, of the encounter: “To be fair, they have all been very tough matches. She’s very tough opponent. She strikes the ball very good, and I have to react very quickly with my feet.

“I have to stay very solid from the baseline. You know, I know a bit what to expect. I have been practicing a little bit with her. I have to step on court and be focused on my game. That’s my goal for the next match.

“I think she’s a solid player. She plays always well in the Grand Slams, and, yeah, she’s just a very solid player. She’s a top player. She’s been in top 10, been playing very good tennis.”

Expect this to be another tough three-setter for Konta to have to get the win. She will try and play solid first strike tennis to get off to a quick start but if she can get it to a third set, then she has a great chance of making a first semi-final in New York.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

Konta and Svitolina are scheduled first on Arthur Ashe Court at 12pm (5pm BST).

 

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