Sunday, July 24th Johanna Konta won her first WTA title by defeating a tennis icon, Venus Williams. Williams’ fans came out in force, supporting the California native, while showing appreciation for Konta’s achievement. The American demonstrated why she has 49 titles to her name, but her British opponent had the edge today. Both delivered a slam-like performance.
The match began with two strong holds. The 25-year-old Konta took an early lead in the first set, quickly breaking Williams’ second service game to go up 2-1. Neither the crowd, nor Williams seemed concerned. Multiple service holds followed, bringing the score to 5-4, Konta. Williams pushed Konta hard on her next service game. Her effort was visible and audible. Despite Konta delivering an ace, Venus broke back. The crowd exploded in applause with Williams back in the set at 5-5.
Konta took the break in stride and moved forward with her plan. She demonstrated the skills that have catapulted her thru the WTA rankings in the past 18 months. She pressed Williams, capturing the break, and followed up quickly closing with a love hold. Set to Konta 7-5.
Williams wasted no time starting the second. She produced a love hold and was serving in the 111 MPH range. Not to be outdone, Konta held next, delivering two aces. That is when the breaks began. Both players were responding with power and pushing each other to risk going for more. Double-faults crept in. The ending seemed written, with Williams down 4-1.
Ever the fighter, Williams found solutions, climbing back into the match. On serve at 4-4, the crowd was holding their breath, eager for more high-quality tennis from the champion and the composed British rising star. Williams produced a quick hold, but Konta responded in kind, the score now 6-5 Williams. Williams kept up her intensity, finding solutions in Konta’s final service game. Eight points later, she owned the second set, 5-7.
They had the crowd on the edge of their seats as they battled on. Both players found themselves moving from offense to defense and running side-to-side. Konta dug deep, pushing Williams to a sixteen-point first service game. The 36-year-old Williams rose to the challenge and held.
Konta held next and then produced a break, applying more pressure, while errors crept in on Williams. Two aces later, the score was now 3-1, Konta. Williams kept fighting with Konta, moving well and attacking her serve. Konta’s steady persistence paid off with another break to go up 5-2. The crowd now subdued.
But Konta would not have an easy close. In Konta’s final service game, Williams won seven of sixteen points played. As Williams hit her last shot into the net, Konta’s face fell into her hands. Final score: 7-5 5-7 6-2. Years of work had paid dividends and Johanna now owned her first WTA title.
Along that road, Konta grabbed the first break in all three sets. She kept an intensity that she forced Williams to match. A critical stat of the match was points won on second serve. Konta at 57% compared with Williams at 31%.
Today fans saw Williams reaching for new goals, while Konta made it clear that she possesses top-ten mental and physical skills. During press, Konta was asked how she has achieved her impressive 2015/2016 results. She responded with humor, saying her fairy godmother finally showed up. After a giggle, she turned serious and reinforced that she has put in the work alongside her talented supportive team. Konta revealed a confident gratitude, much like her formidable opponent Williams.