Eastbourne 2017: Johanna Konta beats top seed Angelique Kerber despite fall


Johanna Konta showed her Wimbledon credentials with a dramatic win over world number one Angelique Kerber after recovering from a heavy fall on match point in the Eastbourne quarter-final.

The British number one, 26, won 6-3 6-4 against Germany’s Kerber to reach the Aegon International semi-finals.

Konta took her fourth match point after a stoppage of almost 10 minutes as she needed treatment following the fall.

Compatriot Heather Watson is also through after beating Barbora Strycova.

Both Konta and British number three Watson reached the semi-finals by winning twice on Thursday as the women’s draw caught up on a backlog of rain-delayed matches.

Konta earlier won 7-5 3-6 6-4 against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the last 16, while Watson, 25, beat Russian 14th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 6-3.

Konta is the first British woman to be ranked in the top 10 at Wimbledon since 1984, raising hopes she can become the first home player to win the ladies’ singles title since Virginia Wade in 1977.

However, the world number seven has won only one main-draw match at the All England Club, losing in last year’s second round to 2014 finalist Eugenie Bouchard.

Victories over Ostapenko and Kerber moved her within two wins of her first tour title on grass.

But her impressive win over Kerber, in which she dominated the two-time Grand Slam champion’s serve, was not without a scare as she slipped on the baseline chasing a return.

Kerber came around the net to help her stricken opponent, who was prostrate on the court, before medical staff arrived and helped the Briton continue after a lengthy stoppage.

“I slipped and hit my head and it’s a bit sore,” said the Australia-born player, whose family moved to Eastbourne when she was a teenager.

“It’s been a busy afternoon, we’ve played a lot of tennis and I’m looking forward to recovering the best I can.”

Konta will play Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova, who beat Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova, in the second semi-final on Friday (approx 13:00 BST).

Eastbourne 2017: Johanna Konta beats world number one Angelique Kerber

Former British number one Watson continued her fine form in the final event before Wimbledon by joining Konta in the last four.

Watson, who goes to SW19 next week as a wildcard, had won only five top-level matches this year before this tournament, dropping to 126th in the world rankings.

But she has reached the semi-finals with impressive wins against defending champion Dominika Cibulkova, Pavlyuchenkova and now 20th-ranked Strycova.

The Guernsey player breezed to the first set against Strycova in 27 minutes, only to allow the Czech back into the match and force a third set.

Strycova, a former Wimbledon quarter-finalist, went a break up midway through the decider, but Watson wiped out the advantage and went on to win.

Watson will face former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Romania’s second seed Simona Halep, at 11:00 BST on Friday.

“I’ve been working really hard these last couple of months and have been waiting for the results to start coming and it’s nice they’ve started coming here at home on grass,” said Watson.



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