Beijing: Johanna Konta became the first British woman in a generation to break into the top-10, as she booked her spot in the China Open final on Saturday.
The Briton put in a solid performance to advance to the biggest final of her career, beating eighth-ranked American Madison Keys 7-6 (7/1), 4-6, 6-4.
After a tight first set, Keys' serve let her down in the tiebreaker but she rallied in the second despite continued pressure from the Briton.
After demanding seven set points from Keys for the second set, Konta stepped up her game in the third, keeping the American on the defensive to take her a step closer to her second season — and career — title. "I don't think she made a lot of unforced errors or gave me a lot of balls to be able to get on the offence," Keys told reporters after the match.
Konta, 25, burst onto the scene at last year's US Open, where she reached the round-of-16 claiming two top 20 scalps en route. She has gone up another gear this season, becoming the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in 33 years at the Australian Open and reaching the quarter finals at the Rio Olympics.
The win in the Chinese capital is yet another one for the record books: She will be the first British woman to break into the top 10 since Jo Durie in 1984, when the new rankings are released Monday.
Konta now moves into eighth spot with the semi-final win, while Keys remains in seventh position, but with two weeks to go before the tournament, both could be nudged out.
Konta will face either world number three Agnieszka Radwanska — who took the Beijing crown in 2011 — or Ukrainian Elina Svitolina in Sunday's final. Meanwhile, on the men's side, world number two Andy Murray will battle Spaniard David Ferrer for a place in the finals.
And Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic faces off against Grigor Dimitrov, who downed Rafael Nadal in the quarters, in the second semi-final meet.
First Published On : Oct 8, 2016 17:05 IST