Johanna Konta's best run at a Grand Slam tournament ended in a battling defeat to Petra Kvitova, but the 24-year-old Briton leaves the US Open with the biggest pay cheque of her career, a large number of ranking points, a host of great memories and a huge amount of hope for the future.
Having won 16 matches in succession since Wimbledon, Konta finally tasted defeat at the hands of the world No 4. Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, won their fourth-round meeting 7-5, 6-3, but only after Konta had pushed her hard from start to finish. The world No 97, who is expected to climb around 40 places in next week’s updated ranking list, followed up her earlier victories over Garbine Muguruza and Andrea Petkovic with another confident and measured performance.
Making her debut in Arthur Ashe Stadium, Konta never let the occasion get to her. She served well, struck the ball with confidence from the back of the court and built points with the same intelligence and coolness she had shown in her previous matches.
US Open 2015 in pictures
US Open 2015 in pictures
1/4 First Round
Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory over Joao Souza
2/4 First Round
Serena Williams consoles Vitalia Diatchenko after beating her in the US Open
3/4 First Round
Heather Watson suffered an early exit to Lauren Davis in a 7-6 7-6 defeat
4/4 First Round
Kei Nishikori lost to Benoît Paire 6-4 3-6 4-6 7-6 6-4
Kvitova, nevertheless, is a formidable ball striker. The Czech, whose leftie serve is one of the most effective in the game, punished anything that was short with ruthless efficiency. In the quarter-finals she will play Flavia Pennetta, who beat Sam Stosur 6-4, 6-4.
“It obviously was not the result I wanted,” Konta said afterwards. “It would have been nice to have kept my run here going. But I played against an incredibly tough player today. She doesn't give you much rhythm. She definitely doesn't give you many chances to be able to take control in a point. It was very difficult for me out there, but I had an amazing time.”
She added: “I think what Kvitova does really well is she keeps very good depth on her ball. That's why it's quite difficult to be able to take charge in a point. She gave me very few chances to do that.”
Konta had five break points in the first set but was unable to take any of them. She served well until the very last game of the set. Having gone 30-40 down at 5-6, she double-faulted.
The second set followed a similar pattern. Trailing 4-3, Konta again double-faulted on break point. She saved two match points in the following game but on the third missed her backhand return.
“She served very well, for sure,” Kvitova said afterwards. “She didn't really miss that much. She really made me play a lot. It was a really good match and very tough.”
Konta was asked what the keys had been to her great winning run. “I think I stayed true to how I wanted to play out there,” she said. “I felt that I competed really well, just stayed calm. I really rolled with the punches.
“There's a lot of things going on here. There's a lot of emotions from a lot of players. It's a high-pressured environment. I felt I did a reasonable job at just dealing with that. I'm just looking forward to the next time I can go out on to the match court.”
Konta will be just behind Heather Watson, the British No 1, in the updated world rankings list. Her bank manager should also be happy. Her prize money as a fourth-round loser will total $213,575 (about £141,000).Reuse content