This was the sort of jaw-dropping display that they are accustomed to seeing from Rafael Nadal, not from a player who had never won a match here until eight days ago.
— Times Sport (@TimesSport) June 5, 2019
Johanna Konta enjoyed one of the strongest performances of her career to date at the French Open, reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros. The Brit was seemingly on her way to reaching her first Grand Slam final, only to be defeated in straight sets by Marketa Vondrousova in the last four.
Konta must put the disappointment behind her at Wimbledon, where she will carry the hopes of a nation given Andy Murray’s injury concerns. The 28-year-old will be Britain’s best chance of producing a champion on home soil, although it will be a tough challenge due to the quality of the players appearing in the tournament.
The last British woman to win the Wimbledon women’s singles title was Virginia Wade in 1977, highlighting the difficulty for Konta when she begins her quest at the All England Club. She is backed in the Wimbledon women’s odds at 14/1 to win the crown, but Serena Williams among others will be out to deny Konta her first Grand Slam title.
The 28-year-old has reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon before, progressing to the last four in 2017. She was the sixth seed in the competition due to his impressive form over the course of the campaign. Konta was forced to battle past Donna Vekic in the second round in a contest that went long in the third set, with the Brit edging out her opponent by a 10-8 scoreline.
She then defeated Caroline Garcia in three sets before facing off against number two seed Simona Halep in the quarter-finals. Konta produced arguably the best performance of her career, overcoming the Romanian even after losing the first set to secure her semi-final berth. However, the experience and guile of Venus Williams proved too much for Konta in the last four, crashing out of the tournament in straight sets.
That was her last great run in a Grand Slam until the French Open. Konta eased her way past qualifier Andrea Lottner before defeating wildcard Lauren Davis in three sets. She was outstanding to defeat Viktoria Kuzmova in the third round and was then presented with the familiar challenge of Vekic. However, on this occasion, Konta hammered her opponent in straight sets to advance to the quarters. The seventh seed Sloane Stephens was awaiting the Brit, but she proved to be more than up for the task at hand. Konta dominated the American on the court, taking the last-eight tie 6-1 6-4 to reach a Grand Slam semi-final for the third time in her career.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 7, 2019
Unlike her previous encounter against the veteran Williams, 19-year-old Vondrousova was her obstacle to earn a berth in the final for the first time. Although it was a close contest, Vondrousova won the crucial points in the match, including the tie-breaker in the decisive set to claim the victory.
The Czech would go on to lose the final to Ashleigh Barty in straight sets, but it may have left Konta rueing a missed opportunity given that Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber had all been knocked out in the early rounds. Konta may not get the same opportunity at Wimbledon, especially considering that Serena Williams will be desperate to close the gap on Martina Navratilova. Konta will have to be flawless to fly the flag for Britain into the final.