Konta upsets Bertens to reach Italian Open final

Published by PA / Tennismash

Johanna Konta is through to her second claycourt final of 2019; Getty Images
Johanna Konta books an Italian Open final against Karolina Pliskova after overcoming Kiki Bertens in Rome.

Johanna Konta will face Karolina Pliskova in the final of the Italian Open after battling past Kiki Bertens 5-7 7-5 6-2 in Rome.

Konta, who turned 28 on Friday, recovered after losing the last three games of the opening set on Saturday to continue her impressive claycourt form.

The unseeded British player came through after two hours and 47 minutes against the Dutch world No.4, who won the Madrid title last week.

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It was a first victory for Konta over a player ranked in the top five since beating Simona Halep at Wimbledon in 2017.

“I’m very pleased to be in the final here,” said Konta.

“It’s my second biggest final behind Miami. That’s a big achievement in my career so far. I’m definitely very conscious and appreciative of this opportunity, of this situation.

“I’ve never really doubted my ability on the surface. I don’t necessarily feel like this is massively out of the blue or super wow. I’m definitely pleased.”

Although Konta had responded after going 3-1 down in the first set to level at 4-4 and then lead, the Briton’s serve let her down again as Bertens edged ahead before taking her first set-point chance.

Konta levelled the match following another close second set, securing a crucial break in the 11th game and then holding serve.

She continued her momentum into the decider, pushing 5-2 ahead before needing four match points to eventually secure a spot in the final with a big serve.

Pliskova needed just one hour and 28 minutes to beat Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-4 and secure her place in Sunday’s showpiece.

The world No.7 won 76 per cent of her points on first serve in a dominant performance against the Greek.

Sakkari, who won just one break point, was unable to capitalise on key moments as Pliskova progressed to her first final in Rome.

“I’m super happy because I didn’t feel, not even before the tournament, not even during, that I’m playing amazing,” said Pliskova.

“I’m in the final. Especially in this tournament, it means quite a lot to me because I never played well.”

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