While singles hope in the men’s draw is gone for the home crowd, the revitalised Johanna Konta can earn a second straight slam semi final in the women’s draw. The Brit will play Barbora Strycova for a spot in the semi finals, where Serena Williams is the likely opponent.
Konta’s success on the clay has followed her onto the grass with another strong run here. She followed up her comeback win over Sloane Stephens with one more against another slam winner in Petra Kvitova. The two-time champion took the first set but Konta broke early in each of the final two sets to help herself on the way to a 4-6 6-2 6-4 victory. “Overall I’m just pleased that I competed well,” said Konta. “Towards the end I thought I had good perspective because she started playing very freely. I mean, the balls were coming through quick. Just happy I was able to keep a good perspective and just enjoy competing against her, because she’s very tough to play on this surface. I’m really pleased with that.”
Strycova ensured there would be Czech representation in this quarter final by defeating Elise Mertens but she had to work hard for her dramatic 4-6 7-5 6-2 win, coming back from 5-2 down in the second set. The Czech plays more of an old school grass style than many of the others in the draw and it has worked wonders for her, with two good wins over Kiki Bertens and now Mertens in the past two rounds.
“[The atmosphere] will be against me, but I really don’t mind. I like these kind of matches and playing on big courts. That’s why I train for it. That’s why I am here. I will try to enjoy myself.” Strycova said on her match up with Konta. She was beaten by Kvitova on that occasion but will fancy her chances against the player who denied the all-Czech clash. She is 1-0 against Konta, having won their only meeting on the hard courts of Tokyo.
Prediction – Johanna Konta in three sets