Miami - Britain's
Johanna Konta beat Venus Williams 6-4, 7-5 in a grueling battle on
Thursday to reach the WTA Tour's Miami Open final, where she will face Caroline
Wozniacki of Denmark.
The Australian-born 25-year-old broke Williams in the first game and played aggressively throughout the opening set.
Williams fought back strongly in the second set, breaking to go up
3-1. But Konta broke back immediately and again for a 5-4 lead that
allowed her to serve for the match.
The American took advantage of some nervy play from the 10th-seed to
break back, but Williams was unable to hold serve and that gave Konta a
second chance to wrap up the contest, which she did after more than two
Konta said she expects a big challenge ahead in order to capture her second title of the year after a Sydney crown.
"I am going to have a tough battle on my hands," Konta said. "Caroline makes you work."
Wozniacki booked her place in the final after rallying to defeat Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
Pliskova, who won titles this year at Doha and Brisbane, also fell in the semi-final stage at Indian Wells two weeks ago.
The Czech broke Wozniacki in the first game of the match but the Dane
fought back and at 5-4 had three set points, which Pliskova manage to
Wozniacki then double faulted to give the Czech a break point, which she took before serving out for the set.
But former world number one Wozniacki, wearing down Pliskova with her
solid defense, ran out a comfortable winner in the following two sets
to earn a third final appearance of the year.
"I'm not sure how I managed to do that," Wozniacki said. "It is tough
when you lose that first set -- especially having set points, it hits
you a little bit. But I got a good start to the second set and that got
me going, got me grinding."
In her two finals this year, both in February, Wozniacki was beaten
by Pliskova at Doha and by Ukrainian Elina Svitolina at Dubai.
Pliskova, who began the year with a title at Brisbane, was philosophical about her second semi-final loss of the month.
"I'm definitely positive," she said. "I've won a lot of matches this
year. I can't be too disappointed but obviously I am disappointed to
lose two semi-finals especially when I think I could have won both
"Obviously I think I could have done a bit more this year but then again I have never had a start to a season like this."
Results from ATP/WTA Miami Open on Thursday:
Roger Federer (SUI x4) bt Tomas Berdych (CZE x10) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6)
Nick Kyrgios (AUS x12) bt Alexander Zverev (GER x16) 6-4, 6-7 (9/11), 6-3
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x12) bt Karolina Pliskova (CZE x2) 5-7, 6-1, 6-1
Johanna Konta (GBR x10) bt Venus Williams (USA x11) 6-4, 7-5