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Birthday treat for Konta as she sets up semi with Bertens

 

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta

By Steve Simpson

Johanna Konta advanced to the Italian Open semi-finals for the first time in her career after overcoming Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova yesterday.

Konta, who was celebrating her 28th birthday, defeated Vondrousova 6-3 3-6 6-1 to secure arguably the biggest victory of her career since reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2017.

The Briton had progressed to the quarter-finals after claiming back-to-back victories over Grand Slam champions Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams on Thursday, as the players were forced to play twice due to Wednesday's washout.

Vondrousova, 19, had defeated World No.2 Simona Halep and Daria Kasatkina to seal her place in the last eight.

Konta started strongly and broke Vondrousova twice in the opening set to seize the initiative.

The Czech responded well by taking the second 6-3 to force a decider, but the British No.1 breezed to the third and final set, reeling off six consecutive games to confirm her semi-final spot.

This victory ensures Konta will return to the world's top 32 on Monday, which means she will be seeded at Roland Garros.

However, the 28-year-old is now eyeing the title and will face sixth seed Kiki Bertens in the semi-finals, after the Dutch star received a bye following Naomi Osaka's withdrawal.

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