Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Konta stays unbeaten vs. Stephens, gains French semis

Johanna Konta, who won the 2016 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, beat
Fresno product Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-4 today in the French Open quarterfinals.
Konta improved to 3-0 against Stephens, with all matches occurring this year.
2018 photo by Mal Taam 
   There will be no rematch of last year's French Open women's final.
   This year, at least.
   Simona Halep has a good chance to retain her title, but Sloane Stephens lost to a nemesis today.
   No. 26 seed Johanna Konta, who won the 2016 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, beat No. 7 seed Stephens, a 26-year-old Fresno product, 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals in Paris.
   Konta, 28, improved to 3-0 in the head-to-head series. Each match has occurred this year.
   "It's definitely one of my best performances," Konta, the first British woman to reach the French Open semifinals since Jo Durie 36 years ago, crowed to reporters. "I feel really pleased with how I dealt with the conditions out there ... "
   Konta was 0-4 in the French Open entering this year but reached the final of clay-court tournaments in Rabat (Morocco) early last month and Rome three weeks ago.
   Wind blew clay dust off the surface in today's first match on Court Philippe Chatrier. That made Stephens' job more difficult against the more powerful Konta, who won 86 percent of the points (33 of 38) on her first serve to her opponent's 67 percent (24 of 36).
   "Clay is a neutralizer, but there wasn't very much clay on the court today," complained Stephens, who at 5-foot-7 (1.70 meters) is four inches (10.2 centimeters) shorter than Konta. "So that was a little bit tough. She likes to play on hard court and grass, and the court was very fast today, and I think that kind of worked in her favor, obviously. Her serving on a court that was playing a lot different than we had been playing on, that was a little bit tricky."
   A first-time Grand Slam finalist is guaranteed as Konta is scheduled to face unseeded Marketa Vondrousova, a Czech left-hander who will turn 20 on June 28, on Thursday.
   Vondrousova, ranked No. 38, topped 31st-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia 7-6 (1), 7-5. Martic ousted second-seeded Karolina Pliskova, the runner-up in the 2015 Bank of the West Classic, in the third round.
   In the men's semifinals, second-seeded Rafael Nadal will renew his rivalry with third-seeded Roger Federer.
   Nadal, seeking his12th French Open crown, dismissed seventh-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in 1 hour, 51 minutes.
   Federer, who claimed his only French Open title 10 years ago, subdued friend and countryman Stan Wawrinka, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in 3 hours, 35 minutes.
   Federer made his Northern California debut last year in a San Jose exhibition. Wawrinka, the 2015 champion at Roland Garros, is rebounding from two knee operations.
   Federer, 37, has won a record 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles, and Nadal, 33, ranks second with 17.
   Nadal leads Federer 23-15 overall and 13-2 on clay. They will meet on clay for the first time since Nadal's 6-1, 6-3 victory in the 2013 Italian Open.

No comments:

Post a Comment