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Konta ready for difficult test against foe Svitolina

High aims: Johanna Konta is determined to reach the semis in the US
High aims: Johanna Konta is determined to reach the semis in the US

By Andy Sims

Johanna Konta needs to overcome another nemesis if she is to reach the semi-finals of the US Open.

The British No.1 beat Karolina Pliskova for only the second time in eight meetings to make the last eight.

Today, she faces fifth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, a player she has lost to in each of their four encounters.

"Elina is a tough player for me to play. I've had a lot of difficulty against her. She's incredibly tenacious," admitted Konta. "She's a tremendous competitor. I would be going out there anticipating it to be a tough match, anticipating for her to be there from the very beginning to the very end.

"I'm just really looking to compete well against her."

Konta became the first British woman to reach the quarters at Flushing Meadows since Jo Durie in 1983.

She is bidding to become the first to make the semi-finals in each of the four Grand Slams in the Open era.

"Yeah, I'm really pleased," she added. "I think for me more on a personal level to be able to have made it to the quarters for my third Slam in a row, I think that's a really, really big achievement for me. So I'm really pleased with that.

"Obviously I'm looking forward to keep going further and further. You know how I am, I take one match at a time. I don't really look forward too much more."

Svitolina overcame Madison Keys in the fourth round, ending the American's unbeaten record in night matches in New York.

On her record against Konta, she said: "To be fair, they have all been very tough matches. She's a very tough opponent. She strikes the ball very well, and I have to react very quickly with my feet.

"I know what to expect a bit. I have been practicing a little bit with her. I have to step on court and be focused on my game. That's my goal for the next match.

"I think she's a solid player. She always plays well in the Grand Slams. She's a top player. She's been in the top-10 and been playing very good tennis."

Meanwhile, Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty reflected on a "hell of a year" in which she captured a first Grand Slam singles title following Sunday's last-16 defeat at the US Open.

Barty, the second seed from Australia, was bundled out by China's Wang Qiang after an error-strewn performance, but the 23-year-old was keen to put her season's work into perspective.

The Queensland native had never progressed beyond the last-16 at a Slam until this year, but she broke new ground at January's Australian Open by reaching the quarter-finals and then captured a maiden Slam title in Paris.

That was followed by a run to the last-16 at Wimbledon as the new World No.1, becoming the first Australian woman to hold the top ranking since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.

"It's a tough day at the office. But it has been a year where we've hit our goals," Barty said in the wake of a disappointing 6-2 6-4 loss to 18th seed Wang. "We've had a great season in Grand Slams for singles. We've made the second week every single one, which has been really special. Now we'll sit back, reflect, and look forward to a big couple months to finish off the year."

• Doubles legend Mike Bryan has issued an apology after receiving a record $10,000 fine for aiming a rifle gesture with his racket at a US Open line official following a disputed call.

Bryan was sanctioned for unsportsmanlike conduct in his second round match with teammate Bob Bryan against Federico Delbonis and Roberto Carballes Baena after complaining that a lob from Delbonis had landed out, despite the opposite ruling being made by an official.

However, when a video replay showed that Bryan was correct, he took his racket in both hands and held it as if it was a rifle, pointing it at the judge.

Bryan stated: "I apologise for any offence I may have caused.

"We won the point and the gesture was meant to be playful. But, given the recent news and political climate, I understand how my gesture could be viewed as insensitive.

"I promise that I will never do anything like this again."

Belfast Telegraph


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