By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon
- Johanna Konta  def. Petra Kvitova  4-6 6-2 6-4
- Konta v Strycova | Strycova leads H2H 1-0
WIMBLEDON, UK – Johanna Konta beat two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and faces another Czech Barbora Strycova for a spot in a second Wimbledon semi-final.
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Johanna Konta  def. Petra Kvitova  4-6 6-2 6-4
This was always going to be a tough match-up for British No. 1 Johanna Konta, as Petra Kvitova looked to be finding some great form this tournament, despite having to pull out of Roland Garros and tune-up events before Wimbledon.
The ferocious hitting on display in the first set was eye-watering, with very little between them until Konta saw two break point chances go begging and Kvitova then needed just the one to take the first set.
The second set saw Konta play better first-strike tennis, taking the initiative and breaking the Czech twice in a row for a comfortable lead in the second set. Although Kvitova managed to get on the scoreboard, she could not make a dent in the cushion Konta had built up.
Things looked to be going a similar way in the deciding set, with a double-break cushion and it was required. Kvitova started to look threatening again with a couple of break points and was rewarded for her persistence as she saved two match points and finally converted on her fourth break point chance in the game as Konta tried to serve it out.
However, there would be no mistake on the second time of asking as she edged Kvitova for a spot in her second straight Slam quarter-final.
After the match, Konta said: “I think there was very little in the first set to begin with. She started playing very well. She also has the capability to just play incredibly well. Her game style really lends itself to being very dangerous on this surface. I knew going into it there will be big pockets of the match where I will have very little say in it, whether it’s going for me or against me.
“I actually thought I did quite well in that first set to stay with her. Yeah, down to a couple points of why I lost that first set. I felt I kind of kept that going, tried to stay there with her. Then I definitely felt like I gained a bit more momentum than her. I just felt I went with that.
“Overall, I’m just pleased that I competed well. Also, towards the end I thought I had good perspective because she started playing very freely. I mean, the balls were coming through quick.”
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Konta v Strycova | Strycova leads H2H 1-0
From one Czech to another, Barbora Strycova got the better of Konta at a time in 2017 when her confidence was taking a walk off a cliff. She had reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon and win Miami earlier in the year, and it looked as though Konta was very much in the ascendency, before her results started to nosedive, which that result being the third loss in what would be a five-match losing streak to close out the year.
Meanwhile as Strycova might contemplate whether or not this might be her last Wimbledon, there is still a job to do as she too has reached this stage for the second time.
Strycova said, of the match-up: “Obviously if I play Johanna, it will be against me. But I really don’t mind. I like these kind of matches and playing on big courts. That’s why I train for it. That’s why I am here.
“[We played] just once. Couple years ago, right? It was a pretty good match. I won that one. But she’s at home. She will be maybe the favourite a little bit (smiling). So, the pressure a little bit on her. But, yeah, it’s quarters, and, yeah, I just go out there and enjoy.”
We can expect more aggressive ball striking from the par, attacking tennis with real focus on the serving – if Konta can keep those numbers up she will be able to put a lot of pressure on Strycova. Despite the fact the Czech has a lot of power, she hits flat without a lot of spin, and tactically can fall apart a little if her game plan is letting her down.
While she is quite the feisty one and can get into player’s heads, she can also allow herself to get very frustrated if things are not going her way. Thankfully Konta has stayed fairly calm in her matches, and she is certainly a very different player than when she last faced Strycova. However, it is also fair to say that against the bigger players she can elevate her game but can struggle where she is the one expected to win.
Prediction: Konta in three sets.
Konta and Strycova are scheduled on Centre Court, not before 2:30pm BST.
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