Konta to face Zhang in Sunday’s final as Skupski lifts doubles title
• 5 MINUTE READ
British No.1 Johanna Konta has reached her third consecutive final at the Viking Open Nottingham after defeating Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic 6-2, 6-7 (2), 7-5 in two hours and 53 minutes.
In one of the matches of the tournament, Konta was pushed all the way but showed exceptional mental strength to clinch a pivotal break on her second match point.
Stojanovic came into the match having only played five matches on grass in her whole career, but with victories over former champion Donna Vekic and Tereza Martincova, she has been one of the stand-out players of the tournament.
Konta has won the opening set in each of her matches this week and wasted no time in getting off to a strong start once again. She rescued a break point off the back with powerful forehand winner and within a matter of minutes found herself with a 5-2 lead and a double break of her own.
In the second set, Konta held a 5-3 advantage and it looked like she had the match in hand, but Stojanovic came back fighting.
Having saved a match point already, Stojanovic seized her chance at 15-30 on the Konta serve. She played a couple of ferocious backhand winners to level the set and marched on to clinch the tie-break.
In the third set, Konta once again edged ahead with a break lead only for the Serbian to dig in her heels and give an instant reply. The British star was forced to save a further break point later in the set but when the moment came at 6-5 she struck.
At 30-40 she showed brilliant defence to keep the point alive off a powerful forehand from Stojanovic and an unforced error sealed the win for Konta.
Reflecting on a gutsy performance, she said: “I fought very hard to come through – I could have easily lost that match but I feel very fortunate to be playing tomorrow.
“This is the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of for a long time, for me this was like a full Arthur Ashe stadium.
“My job is to go out and do the best that I can – I’m there to win but so is the other player but I’m going to enjoy it. It’s my first final in two years so I’m going to enjoy the experience and enjoy playing a final at home in front of the crowd.”
In tomorrow’s final she will face Zhang Shuai, who she has beaten on each of their last four meetings – the last of which came at the US Open in 2019.
Konta will be aiming to become the first British women to win a WTA singles title at home in 40 years since Sue Barker won in Brighton back in 1981.
There was more British success in the men’s doubles final as Liverpool’s Ken Skupski was crowned champion alongside Australian partner, Matt Reid.
Skupski and Reid came from a set behind to defeat second seed Matthew Ebden and John-Patrick Smith 4-6, 7-5, 10-6.
After a decisive break at the end of the second set, momentum took a huge shift heading into the tie-break with Skupski landing a crunching return
Skupski – who defeated Reid and Smith in the 2017 final in Nottingham alongside his brother Neal – lifted the 32nd ATP Challenger doubles title of his career and will now head to London for the cinch Championships.
In the ATP Challenger singles final Frances Tiafoe will play Denis Kudla as both players picked up impressive victories. Tiafoe defeated Marius Copil 6-3, 6-2, while Kudla claimed a 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (6) win over Kamil Majchrzak.