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Gritty Konta triumphs to reach her first semi on clay

 

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta

By Steve Simpson

British No.1 Johanna Konta is through to the first clay-court semi-final of her career following a three-set victory over second seed Hsieh Su-Wei in the Morocco Open in Rabat.

The 27-year-old came from a set down to win 6-7 (1) 6-4 6-4 and set up a last-four clash with fourth seed Ajla Tomljanovic.

Hsieh started the match in control, forging a 3-0 lead, and although Konta fought back to force a tie break, the 33-year-old from Chinese Taipei easily wrapped up the opening set.

After the first seven games went with serve in the second set, Konta appeared to make a crucial break to love for a 5-3 lead, only to be immediately broken back.

At 5-4, Konta squandered three set points before finally making the fourth count to send the match into a deciding set, her third three-setter in as many matches.

After trading breaks early on, Konta again made another key break to lead 5-3, but as in the second set she again let her advantage slip.

The Briton, though, fought bravely and, after Hsieh double-faulted to hand Konta three match points, she converted at the second attempt.

Two-time French Open champion Maria Sharapova has been forced to withdraw from the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome because of an ongoing problem with her right shoulder.

A three-time winner in the Italian capital, the WTA World No.28 will be replaced in the main draw by Viktoria Kuzmova, whose place in qualifying will, in turn, be taken by Viktorija Golubic.

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