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Resurgent Konta into French Open semi finals

Resurgent Konta into French Open semi finals
Sloane Stephens greets Jo Konta after their French Open quarter final match on Tuesday
Paris, Jun 4 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 6/4/2019 12:32:10 PM IST

A resurgent Johanna Konta beat Sloane Stephens to become the first British woman since Jo Durie in 1983 to reach the French Open semi-finals.

Konta, ranked No 4 in the world two years ago before a dip in form, cleared the opening hurdle at Roland Garros for the first time in five attempts and is now a Grand Slam semi-finalist again after producing another stunning display against the seventh seed on Court Philippe-Chatrier to win 6-1 6-4.

“This is my first match on the new Chatrier and to play one of the best players in the world and to play at the level I did, I feel very proud of myself. I’m just so pleased to have gone through,” Konta said in her on-court interview.

“Definitely dealing with the conditions out here, it’s super windy, and an opponent like Sloane who can run away with that match. I’m just pleased I was able to keep her on the back foot.”

Konta’s remarkable form showed no sign of letting up as she raced through the opening set in just 32 minutes against Stephens.

The American. who is a proven clay-court performer and a runner-up here 12 months ago to Simona Halep, was helpless in the face of an onslaught of power and superb serving from Konta, who clinched the set for the loss of one game in just 32 minutes.

Both players began a little nervously but, after holding serve in an eight-minute first game, Konta did not look back.

Stephens, who is a major winner having lifted the US Open title in 2017, was broken for the third time in the opening game of the second set and that was enough for Konta, whose first-strike tennis simply took the match away from her.

It is by some distance Konta’s best run at a Slam since she reached the last four at Wimbledon two years ago, after which she experienced feelings of burnout and a dramatic slump in her fortunes.

She is now benefiting from her relatively new coaching relationship having worked with softly-spoken Frenchman Dimitri Zavialoff since October.

Konta matches Durie’s effort 36 years ago by making it through to the last four of the tournament. On that occasion Durie lost to Mima Jausovec from the former Yugoslavia, but Konta will fancy her chances of making history on Thursday.

Nadal, Federer in semis

Rafael Nadal has advanced to a record-extending 12th semifinal at the French Open with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 win over Kei Nishikori on Tuesday.

Waiting for him will be Roger Federer.

“I’m very satisfied,” Nadal said during his on-court interview after the match. “It’s incredible. Lots of emotions. To be back in the semifinals is something very, very important.’’

The only trouble that Nadal, the defending champion who has a career record of 91-2 at Roland Garros, ran into against the seventh-seeded Nishikori on Court Philippe Chatrier was a rain delay of just more than an hour during the third set.

Next up for Nadal will be Federer, the No. 3 seed who defeated Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

It will be the 39th career matchup -- and 13th in a Grand Slam event -- between the two superstars in the Open Era; Nadal leads 9-3 in majors, 23-15 overall and has a 13-2 edge on clay, on which they last played against each other in 2013 in Rome.

Nadal has won all five of his career matchups against Federer at the French Open.

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