While Simona Halep was favoured to make the French Open final from the top half the draw (she just lost to Anisimova though), the bottom half of the draw is going to produce a surprise semi-finalist. It will be either the unseed Marketa Vondrousova or an in-form Johanna Konta. Konta has now made the semi finals in three of the four slams while Vondrousova has produced a career best by making the last four.
Konta has been inspired on the clay, adding this run to her two finals. She outplayed Sloane Stephens in the quarter finals, easing past last year’s winner with a 6-1 6-4 win. She had already beaten the American once this clay swing but this still proved to be a surprise result, especially the in ease in which it came. It was a run of 7 straight games from 1-1 that put her in control, never letting up. “It’s definitely one of my best performances, I feel really pleased with how I dealt with the conditions out there and just how I gave myself space to play. I thought I played the game, which I was just really pleased with. Just happy.” Konta said afterwards. She won 87% of first serve points, never allowing last year’s finalist to get much of a look-in.
Vondrousova has been in stellar form this fortnight and carried that on with a 7-6 7-5 win over Petra Martic. Martic had dominated the head to head in the past, winning all four meetings including one this year. It looked like 5-0 was on the cards when the Czech was down 5-6 0-40 on her serve but she delivered in the clutch to win 12 of the next 13 points and seize control of the match. She was pegged back in the second set after rushing into an early lead but held her nerve after blowing match points, eventually converting on the third game she had chances in. “I just wanted to play more aggressive. Because she’s a great player and you have to play aggressive to win the point. I think that was the key in the first set.” said the Czech, who hit 29 winners overall in victory. “It’s very good I beat her in this tournament. I mean, I was waiting for this to happen, like, five matches, so it’s great it happened here.”
Konta’s confidence is at an all time high with her hard work on clay finally paying off after some disastrous results in previous years. “Whenever I step out onto the court, I’m always going to have a chance, I don’t think any player on tour can go on court against me and feel like they’ve definitely got it. I definitely back myself and my ability that way. But then I also accept… that it’s not all on my racquet. I also accept that my opponent has a say in things out there, as well.” she said. Having won a three setter on her way to the Rome final, she will fancy her chances of repeating that on Thursday afternoon.
Prediction – Johanna Konta in three sets