Konta puts maiden Tour title down to perseverance
Johanna Konta felt all her hard work paid off after she claimed her first career WTA Tour title with victory over Venus Williams at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford.
The British number one, who became the first British woman to win this title since Sue Barker in 1977, rises to number 14 in the world - a career high for the Sydney-born right-hander who was ranked 147th in June of last year - after the 7-5 5-7 6-2 victory in two hours, 18 minutes.
Konta looked to be coasting when leading by a set and 4-1 in the second but Williams won six of the next seven games to haul herself back into the match. However, the 25-year-old regained her composure and, after getting herself into a position of authority with a double break in the deciding set, she did not make the same mistake again.
"It's quite an incredibly humbling experience," said Konta, who also beat Williams at the Australian Open.
"It's a validation of all the hard work you've already put in and a motivator on the things you want to keep improving on, and the lengths you might go to in order to become that much better at your discipline.
"I wanted to leave it all out there, but also absorb everything that I could possibly reinvest in my career moving forward."
Konta paid tribute to the resilience and fight of the former world number one, who was looking for her 50th career title.
"Quite honestly, you'd expect nothing less from a champion," Konta said. "They don't give away any match, much less a final.
"Every single point was a battle and I tried to win as many battles as possible.
"The simpler you keep things, the more clarity you have and the less dumb you play!"
Wimbledon semi-finalist Williams admitted she was not at her best in the final but it was tough to keep up with Konta, who turned in one of her best performances of a remarkable season.
"Credit to her for playing great tennis; she played so well and all of her balls were landing today," Williams said. "She played at such a high level today. She saved her best tennis for the final, which is what you want to do."