Johanna Konta beats Magdalena Rybarikova to seal place in Aegon Open final in Nottingham
Home favourite Johanna Konta sealed her place in the final of the Aegon Open in Nottingham with a 6-2 7-5 win over Magdalena Rybarikova.
The World Number Eight, who suffered a disappointing early exit at the French Open earlier this month, has looked far more at home on the faster grass courts of Nottingham, and she took little time in racing to a first set win over her bewildered Slovakian opponent.
Rybarikova rallied in the second set, but a break by Konta in the 11th game of the set game the Brit her chance, and she duly served out for the match to seal her place in Sunday’s final.
On Sunday the British number one will play Croatian Donna Vekic. Vekic was a 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(4) victor over Czech Lucie Safarova in the day's second semi-final, in the climax to the Wimbledon warm-up tournament on Sunday.
Konta, who was born in Australia but took British citizenship five years ago, is aiming to become the first British woman to win a WTA event on home ground since Virginia Wade at Eastbourne in 1975. Wimbledon, which Wade won in 1977, is not part of the WTA Tour.
Having reached the top six in the world rankings last month, she is also optimistic about an improved performance at Wimbledon, where she won a round for the first time last year after four opening-round defeats.
Playing in the semi-finals of the competition for the first time, Konta was quickly into her rhythm, breaking Rybarikova in the fifth game of the match.
She did not look back, breaking the Slovakian again shortly afterwards to confidently take the opening set 6-2.
Konta looked to be cruising as she broke in the first game of the second set, but Rybarikova immediately hit back.
Temperatures continued to soar and there was a break in play as medics helped a female spectator who was struggling with the heat, with Konta handing over her umbrella.
The set went with serve until the 11th game when a double fault from Rybarikova gifted Konta the advantage before she served out the match.
The other semi-final was a tight tussle which lasted for 10 minutes under three hours and witnessed real heart from Vekic, who was reduced to tears of frustration by a tight line call that went against her in the final set but recovered her poise to prevail in the decisive tiebreak.
Additional reporting from Reuters