Tennis: Johanna Konta breezes past Sloane Stephens into Roland Garros last four

Britain's Johanna Konta in action during her quarter-final match at the French Open on June 4, 2019.
Britain's Johanna Konta in action during her quarter-final match at the French Open on June 4, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS, AFP) - Johanna Konta cantered into the semi-finals of tennis' French Open on Tuesday (June 4), blitzing American Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-4 to become the first British woman into the last four in Paris since 1983.

Swinging freely, the 28-year-old pummelled groundstrokes past her seventh-seeded opponent to secure the victory in a little over an hour.

Konta, who had not won a match in four previous appearances at this Grand Slam event, will face either Croatia's Petra Martic or Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova for a spot in the final.

The last British finalist in Paris was Sue Barker, who lifted the trophy in 1976, while Jo Durie reached the semi-finals 36 years ago.

Konta now herself in her third semi-final at a major after runs to the last four at the 2016 Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017.

"To play on the new Chatrier court for the first time was wonderful especially against one of the world's best players," said Konta after her third win in 2019 over Stephens.

"I am super happy because the conditions were so windy and Sloane is the kind of player who can run away with a match.

 
 

"So I had to be prepared to keep her on the back foot and control the points."

Konta made sure of emulating Durie by breaking the 2017 US Open champion in the fourth and sixth games of the first set. The Briton fired four aces and 12 winners past her 26-year-old opponent in the 35-minute opener.

The 26th seed tightened her grip with a break in the opening game of the second set and that proved more than enough. Such was Konta's domination that she allowed Stephens just one point on her serve in the entire second set, which ended with a whimper when the American sent a groundstroke wide of the mark.