Konta beats Barty at Aegon Open


Johanna Konta moved closer to a first WTA title on home soil after booking a spot in the Aegon Open semifinal in Nottingham.

The British No. 1’s rise to the top of the women’s game has seen her win three tournaments on the main tour in the last 12 months, and she looks a good bet to add a fourth in front of a home crowd after seeing off Ashleigh Barty 6-3, 7-5.

Konta, who has never got past the quarterfinal stage in Nottingham, was in confident mood from the off, breaking her opponent in the third game and then claimed the first set with another break.

The second was nowhere near as comfortable, though, as Barty broke to take a 4-2 lead. Konta, though, regained her stranglehold on the game, winning five of the next six games to close the win out in straight sets, taking it on a fourth match point.

It sets up a last-four meeting with Magdalena Rybarikova — who defeated Kristie Ahn 6-4, 6-1 — as she chases what would also be a first title on grass.

Elsewhere at the Aegon Open, Lucie Safarova was made to work with a three-set victory over Tsvetana Pironkova, running out as a 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 winner.

Safarova will play Donna Vekic in the other semifinal, who defeated Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-2, 6-3.

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