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Konta aiming to keep raising her game after roaring into semi-finals

By Eleanor Crooks

Johanna Konta reached her first semi-final since Wimbledon last year with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Dalila Jakupovic at the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham.

The British No.1 has hit form on grass after a disappointing start to the season. She next faces Croatian Donna Vekic, who beat her in the final last year.

It was a first meeting between Konta and Jakupovic, and it was the Slovenian who made the first move with a break for 2-1. But Konta seized her chance when her opponent became more wayward, winning four games in a row to take the first set.

Jakupovic had an early break in the second as well but Konta was quickly back on terms and ensured there were no slip-ups.

Konta said: “It was very tricky, quite windy, and I’d never played her. The most important thing is that I’m competing well and fighting for every point. I’m enjoying getting more matches under my belt and we’ll work towards getting another one.”

Following their clash here 12 months ago, Konta and Vekic met in the second round of Wimbledon, the British player coming through 10-8 in the deciding set.

“We’ve had some incredible battles,” said Konta. “She’s playing very well on this surface. I’m looking forward to the challenge, it’ll be a great test for me to keep competing the way I have and keep raising my level.”

British No.4 Katie Boulter was making her first appearance in a WTA Tour quarter-final but found top seed Ashleigh Barty too savvy in a 6-0 6-2 loss.

In the men’s event, which is on the second-tier Challenger Tour, Dan Evans reached his second successive semi-final with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 victory over Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur.

He was one of two British players hoping to make the last four but James Ward fell 6-4 6-3 to Ilya Ivashka.

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