Tennis: Johanna Konta thanks Andy Murray for taking the heat off her

Johanna Konta of Great Britain in action during the semi-finals match against Venus Williams on day 11 of the Miami Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 30, 2017 in Key Biscayne, Florida.
Johanna Konta of Great Britain in action during the semi-finals match against Venus Williams on day 11 of the Miami Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 30, 2017 in Key Biscayne, Florida. PHOTO: AFP

Miami (AFP) - Britain's Johanna Konta, facing the biggest final of her career in the Miami Open on Saturday, says the success of Andy Murray has kept the attention and pressure off her as she has risen through the ranks.

The 25-year-old is the first British woman to play in the final of Miami Open and her win in straight sets over local favourite Venus Williams on Thursday ensures she will return to the top ten in the rankings regardless of the outcome of her clash with Caroline Wozniacki.

Born in Australia, but having been based in England since she was 14, Konta has not had to deal with much of the hype and expectation that have accompanied some British players in the past.

And for that, she thanks the current men's world No. 1.

"I think the fortunate position that I'm in is we have someone called Andy Murray who, bless him, has I think carried most of that weight on his shoulders," she said after her third-straight win over Williams.

"But it's also a great thing we promote tennis there. If it's talked about, circulated, it's only good for our sport. If it grows at home, that's a good thing," she said.

Konta already has a tournament win on the WTA tour this season, triumphing in Sydney and this is not her first premier final - she lost to Agnieszka Radwanska in the final of the China Open in Beijing last October.

But in terms of status and profile, the Miami final certainly carries more cachet.

"Well, according to the calendar it's on par (with Beijing). I guess Miami may have a certain just more history possibly. Obviously it's always talked about Indian Wells/Miami," she said.

"In terms of who I'm playing and what we're playing for, that's quite equal. I played Radwanska in that final and now I am playing Wozniacki in the final here. I think it's a great finals to be a part of," she said.

Konta will move to world No. 7 if she can beat Wozniacki at Key Biscayne and in the pair's only previous meeting - she beat the Dane 6-3, 6-1 in the third round of the Australian Open in January.

"I remember I played very well that match. I did play very well and also until the very end I knew that it was never for certain.

"I think that's the thing with Caroline: she never goes away. She's there until the very, very last ball. I know that will be my challenge on Saturday," she said.

Wozniacki showed her excellent defence and staying power in her semi-final win over second-seed Karolina Pliskova on Thursday.

Konta says she expects to be made to work hard by the former world No. 1 who has been in excellent form this year.

"Against Caroline, I'm definitely going to be looking forward to playing a lot of balls and a lot of tough points. She's one of the best athletes in the game.

"She ran a marathon for goodness sake. I'm sure it'll be a match where I'll be running for a lot of balls. Hopefully we'll give a great match for the final," she said.

Saturday will be the Dane's third final of the year after losing at Dubai and Doha. "I'm hoping it's third-time lucky," said Wozniacki.