Johanna Konta reached the China Open final on Saturday, ensuring enough ranking points to make a Top 10 debut on Monday. The 25-year-old is only the fourth British women’s tennis player to achieve the feat and the first since 1984! Between Konta and the $1,111,945 China Open champion’s trophy stands Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated the Brit in three sets in their only previous meeting in Cincinnati earlier this summer.
In Saturday’s semifinal, the 11th-seeded Konta defeated eighth seed Madison Keys 7-6(1) 4-6 6-4. After letting a 4-2 lead slip away in the first set, Konta rallied to force a tiebreak in which she dominated the powerful American, but then unraveled in the second set as Keys took the match to a deciding set. Keys broke Konta’s serve in the first game of the third set, but the Brit immediately responded and marched to the big victory. Can you imagine that Konta was ranked as low as No. 146 in June last year?
The 2011 Beijing champion Radwanska joined Konta in the WTA Premier Mandatory final by defeating seed No.16 Elina Svitolina, the famous conqueror of two different No.1s this season. The third-seeded Radwanska battled back from 3-5 in the first set to eventually win in straight sets and improve her head-to-head record against the Ukrainian to 4-0.
Svitolina was just two points away from winning the first set, serving for it at 5-4, but her resistance was stopped both in the first set and in the second when she was on the verge of leveling the score after recovering from a 3-0 deficit. Final result: 7-6(3) 6-3. (photos: Jimmie48)