Johanna Konta beaten in Western and Southern Open semi-final while Naomi Osaka progresses

Briton was defeated by Victoria Azarenka as Osaka overcame Elise Mertens

British No1 Johanna Konta came up short on Friday
British No1 Johanna Konta came up short on Friday

Johanna Konta fell short in her bid to make the Western & Southern Open final after she was beaten by Victoria Azarenka on Friday.

Konta drew first blood in the semi-final, but the two-time Grand Slam winner came back to win 4-6 6-4 6-1 and set up a final against Naomi Osaka.

It ends a positive week for British No1 Konta, who was aiming to make her ninth career final, as she looked somewhere back to her best.

Although Konta will be disappointed not to be contesting the final, her defeat does at least give her the weekend off ahead of next week’s US Open, where she has to be considered one of the contenders for the New York Grand Slam given her form this week – though she faces a tense first-round clash against fellow Briton Heather Watson.

After play at Flushing Meadows was suspended on Thursday in protest of the shooting of black American Jacob Blake by police, Konta broke in the fifth game of the match and then saw the opening set out, eventually sealing it 6-4 on her eighth set point.

Neither player was able to dominate their serve in the second set, with five breaks, but Azarenka got three of them to even the match up.

Konta was not having the same penetration as in the first set and Azarenka claimed an early break to lead 3-1 and then followed it up with another.

The Belarusian, who is enjoying something of a renaissance following several years in the doldrums after injuries and a custody battle over her son, then served it out to claim a memorable win.

Meanwhile, former world No1 Osaka defeated Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-2 7-6 (5).

Japan’s Osaka originally pulled out of the match as she protested the shooting of Blake, but she later reversed her decision.

Osaka lifted the US Open trophy in 2018 for her maiden major crown, but she was defeated by Belinda Bencic in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows last year.

PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in