Konta charges into China Open final and world top 10

BEIJING • Johanna Konta will become the first British woman to break into the top 10 of the world tennis rankings in 32 years, after beating Madison Keys to reach the final of the China Open yesterday.

The 25-year-old overcame her American opponent 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-4 in an encounter that lasted more than 21/2 hours.

Her victory means she will climb into the top 10 of the next WTA rankings, becoming the first British woman to achieve the feat since Jo Durie in 1984. Durie congratulated Konta on Twitter shortly after the match finished.

Both Konta and Keys are chasing points to qualify for the first time for the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Konta moves into eighth spot with the semi-final win while Keys remains in seventh position, but with two weeks to go before the WTA Finals, both could be nudged out.

Konta said in her on-court interview immediately after yesterday's victory: "I'm enjoying my time here, it's my first time playing in Beijing and I hope to play many more times. It's a pleasure to play here."

"(Madison is) such a high quality player, she has such weight of shots I'm pretty sure I was cleaning the back of the court there, she was keeping me back. I just tried to run down as many balls as I could and really just take the chances that I got."

Konta, ranked No. 14 in the world at the start of the week, is looking for the second WTA title of her career after beating Venus Williams to win the Stanford Classic in July.

She will face third seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the final, after the Pole beat 16th seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in yesterday's other semi-final.

In the men's competition, world No. 2 Andy Murray recovered from a slow start to surge into the China Open final with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Spain's David Ferrer.

The 29-year-old, who recorded his seventh consecutive victory over Ferrer, will face Grigor Dimitrov in today's final, after Milos Raonic was forced to withdraw from the other semi-final with an ankle injury.

The big-serving Raonic was forced to play twice on Friday, beating Tunisia's Malek Jaziri and Pablo Carreno Busta to advance to the last four, and he suffered the injury during the win over the Spaniard.

"I rolled over my ankle, obviously caused it some level of a sprain," the Canadian told the ATP website. "I did a test this morning, which showed I had a partial tear on the outside of my ankle. I was told to give it a try. I tried to warm up just before the match like I would normally, and I was unable to play."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

WTA CHINA OPEN

Final: StarHub Ch203, 4.30pm

ATP CHINA OPEN

Final: StarHub Ch201, 7.30pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 09, 2016, with the headline 'Konta charges into China Open final and world top 10'. Print Edition | Subscribe