Johanna Konta beats Venus Williams in first WTA final to win Stanford Classic

Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club

The British No1, Johanna Konta, scored an impressive victory on her first appearance in a WTA final when she defeated Venus Williams 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 in the Stanford Classic in California on Sunday.

Konta, the first British woman to win this title since Sue Barker in 1977, played with accuracy and aggression to hustle the former Wimbledon champion out of her stride in the first set and, despite a dip in form in the second, she recovered well in the third.

After the first two games had gone with serve Konta broke Williams in the third. A powerful return took her to 15-40 and she completed the break with a clean winner after pinning her opponent on the baseline.

Sending down her serves at more than 110mph, Konta’s serve had been largely untroubled but in the 10th game Williams broke back. However, the world No18 responded in kind leaving her to serve for the set again and this time she made no mistake, winning the game to love.

The second set began as the first, with Konta breaking Williams in the third game. She consolidated with some solid serving, finishing off with an ace, and made it a double break to lead 4-1 with Williams’ serve looking increasingly shaky.

However, Williams dug deep to recover one of the breaks and, with Konta pressing strongly, held her serve. Konta was beginning to make errors and Williams took advantage to break again and level the set at 4-4.

At 4-5 and with her game creaking, Konta called her coach, José-Manuel Garcia, on to court and his words seemed to have some effect as she managed to save two set points in the next game. However, Williams was not to be denied and on her third set point in the 12th game Konta sent the ball long.

The start of the third set followed the pattern of the first two with Konta breaking Williams in the third game having squandered a chance in the first. She then moved 3-1 ahead with her 10th ace of the match.

The next two games went with serve before Konta again exploited the frailty of the Williams serve to earn a second break and put her, at 5-2, on the verge of victory which, despite some signs of nerves and with Williams fighting to the last, she duly completed on her third match point after a tough final game.

Serena Williams, meanwhile, has pulled out of the Rogers Cup starting in Montreal on Monday because of shoulder inflammation. “Due to inflammation in my shoulder I unfortunately must withdraw from the Rogers Cup,” Williams said in a statement. “I was looking forward to competing in Montreal and I look forward to returning soon.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Stephen Bradfield, for The Guardian on Monday 25th July 2016 00.42 Europe/London

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