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Johanna Konta beats Sloane Stephens to reach French Open semi-finals
Konta faces Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova for a place in her first Grand Slam final
Last Updated: 04/06/19 9:15pm
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 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.
But she is clearly benefiting from her relatively new coaching relationship having worked with softly-spoken Frenchman Dimitri Zavialoff since October.
Konta's previous Grand Slam semi-final appearances:
2016 Australian Open - Konta lost to Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-22017 Wimbledon - Konta lost to Venus Williams 6-4 6-2
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.
She will face Marketa Vondrousova for a place in her first Grand Slam final after the Czech teenager beat Croatia's Petra Martic 7-6 (7-1) 7-5.
Vondrousova has been in superb form, winning 26 of her last 31 matches, and heads into the clash with Konta having yet to drop a set at this year's tournament.
Stephens vs Konta: Match Stats
|66%||1st serve win percentage||86%|
|33%||2nd serve win percentage||50%|
|0/1||Break points won||3/7|
|3/4||Net points won||3/4|
|41||Total points won||61|
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