Proud Konta turns on style in title triumph
With the start of the Australian Open just three days away, Johanna Konta recorded one of her finest victories to claim only the second title of her career.
The 25-year-old Briton, hitting the ball as sweetly as she has ever done, beat the World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 6-2 to win the Sydney International.
Dan Evans completed a fine evening for British tennis when he beat Andrey Kuznetsov 6-2 3-6 6-3 to reach his first final on the main tour. The 26-year-old from Birmingham will face Luxembourg's Gilles Muller.
Earlier in the day Jamie Murray, playing with his partner Bruno Soares in the doubles, became another Briton to reach a final this weekend.
Konta's victory could not have been sweeter. The World No.10, who is expected to climb one place in the rankings next week, was born in Sydney and lived in the city until her family moved to Europe when she was 13. Having reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open 12 months ago, she will head to Melbourne full of confidence.
The 25-year-old was almost lost for words at the presentation ceremony. "I'm actually really happy," she insisted. "This is a very special moment for me."
Radwanska had won both their previous meetings and is much more experienced, despite being only two years older. The 27-year-old Pole went into the final having won 20 titles compared with Konta's one and more than $26m (about £21.3m) in prize money compared with the Briton's $3.25m (£2.66m).
Konta made her first break in the third game. Having hit a big forehand return, she charged into the net to hit a forehand drive volley winner. It was the only break of serve in the first set.
Radwanska was broken again at the start of the second set and Konta was soon 4-0 up and went on to serve out after an hour and 22 minutes.
On her first match point Konta put an attempted drop shot into the net, but she made no mistake on the second, which she converted with an ace.
Radwanska thought she could not have played any better, saying that Konta had played "unbelievable" tennis.
Asked what effect this might have on her chances at the Australian Open, Konta said: "It's not a reflection of how next week, the rest of the year will go. It's back to hard work, because that's what dictates how I do."
Before Evans faces Muller today, Murray and Soares will take on the Dutch pair, Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop, in the doubles final. Murray and Soares beat the Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-3 7-6 in the semi-finals.