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'Light bulb' moment as Konta reaches Italian Open final
© afp.com/Tiziana FABI

'Light bulb' moment as Konta reaches Italian Open final

Published by , Saturday 05/18/19 15:42

Britain's Johanna Konta said she felt like "a light bulb had gone off" as she rallied past world number four Kiki Bertens 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 to seal her second final on clay at the Italian Open on Saturday.

Konta, ranked 42, sealed victory on her fourth match point against sixth seed Bertens, winner of the Madrid Open last week, after almost three hours on the red clay of Rome.

Dutchwoman Bertens had advanced to the semi-finals after world number one Naomi Osaka of Japan retired with a hand injury before their match Friday.

But 28-year-old Konta mastered the windy conditions on Centre Court to continue a fine run this week having beaten eighth-seeded American Sloane Williams and former champion Venus Williams.

Konta next meets either Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova or Greek qualifier Maria Sakkari, who beat the British number one on clay in the final of the Moroccan Open earlier this month, in Sunday's final.

"The light bulb just went off," she said. "I don't necessarily feel like this is massively out of the blue or super wow. But I'm definitely pleased.

"I've never really doubted my ability on the (clay) surface.

"That's a big achievement in my career so far. It's my second biggest final behind Miami."

Konta, a former Australian Open and Wimbledon semi-finalist, reached the world number four ranking in July 2017 but has struggled for form since.

Her three career titles have all been on hard court -- most recently in Miami in April 2017.

"When I was younger or even in my young professional career, I won most of my titles on clay," said the Australian-born player.

"I won a lot of my first junior titles, first professional titles on clay. I've always felt that I have a game that has the ability to do well on this surface.

"It's unfortunate in the previous couple years I didn't get as many opportunities as I would have liked to have done better results-wise."

She is bidding to become the first British woman to win in Rome since Virginia Wade in 1971.

"It was tough conditions out there today with the wind," said Bertens. "I couldn't stay calm, I couldn't play my points.

"I had a great two weeks. I have a couple of days to rest now, then go to Paris (French Open). I think anything can happen there."

Source: AFP