Sports

Johanna Konta upsets Venus Williams in Bank of the West final

 

Johanna Konta won her first WTA championship Sunday with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 win over Venus Williams in the Bank of the West singles final in front of a crowd of 2,268 at Stanford.

Konta was going for her first title; Venus was going for her 50th. The newcomer won thanks in no small part to a heaping helping of resiliency.

Konta, the No. 3 seed, appeared to be on her way to win in straight sets when she opened a 4-1 lead in the second set. But Williams, the No. 1 seed and home court favorite, rallied back to take the set and even the match.

"4-1 doesn't mean the match is over," Williams said. "I came close to winning five games in a row. The crowd was really into it."

It appeared as though all the momentum was on the side of Williams, who made her pro debut at Bank of the West in 1994.

But the 25-year-old Konta found the inner strength to seize control in the third set and never let go.

"Keeping things in perspective,'' Konta said by way of explanation. "There are going to be ebbs and flows in a match. Putting things behind you. Knowing that every point was going to be a battle and to try to win as many as possible.''

Konta, who was born in Australia and became a British citizen in 2012, has made a whirlwind ascent this year. She is now ranked 14th, the first British woman in nearly 30 years to be ranked in the top 20. When she played at Wimbledon earlier this year she was ranked No. 16.

The previous year at Wimbledon she was ranked 126th.

"Daily effort, daily work, daily desire to get better,'' Konta said. "Finding the enjoyment within my sport and separating my happiness and well-being from any results.''

She was the first British woman to reach the Bank of the West final since Virginia Wade in 1981. She also had a win over Williams at the Australian Open and is 5-4 against top 20 players this year.

"She plays real well against me," Williams said. "I played definitely a lot better than in Australia."

It was the eighth Bank of the West finals appearance for Williams, who won the singles title in 2000 and 2002.

Americans Raquel Atawo and Abigail Spears won the doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Croatia's Darija Jurak and Australia's Anastasia Rodionova.

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