Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 26th 2016 Contents A51
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
STANFORD---As Johanna Konta
pounded the ball from every spot on
the court Sunday and rarely missed,
there were moments Venus Williams
could do little more than applaud her
opponent s stellar day as winners
whipped down the line and drop shots
With a crowd of 2,268 largely rooting
for the American icon Williams, Konta
regularly reminded herself to breathe
to keep her mind on the match and
not her daunting task.
The hard-hitting Konta outslugged
top-seeded Williams to capture her
first career singles title at last while
playing for her first championship, win-
ning the Bank of the West Classic 7-
5, 5-7, 6-2.
"It s actually quite an incredibly hum-
bling experience. It s a great validation
of the hard work you ve been putting
in and it s a great motivator on the
things you want to keep getting better
at," she said. "I played her twice pre-
viously. I knew going into it I was going
to be playing against a magnitude of
experience. Venus Williams doesn t
need an introduction."
Her serve and return games equally
solid on another unseasonably hot day
at Stanford, Konta held on in the third
set after squandering a 4-1 lead in the
second to open the door for Williams
to come back.
When Williams netted her forehand
return on the third match point, Konta
dropped her racket to the ground and
covered her face in triumph before
heading to the net for a handshake.
After receiving her trophy and address-
ing Williams directly with a thoughtful
compliment of the 36-year-old star s
grace and game, Konta posed for a
round of photos that this time will be
all the more special.
"She played at such a high level
today," Williams said. "She saved her
best tennis for the final, which is what
you want to do."
Konta is having a blast being part
of British tennis right now, everyone
"riding high after Wimbledon" with
Andy Murray winning at home.
"Yeah, long live the Queen, guys,"
she said with a big grin.
Over the 2-hour, 18-minute match,
the third-seeded Konta figured out
Williams big serve for the second time
this year, standing some 10 feet behind
the baseline to return it and generating
pace from Williams regular serves of
well higher than 100 mph.
The 25-year-old Konta also stunned
Williams with the straight-set victory
in the first round at this year s Aus-
tralian Open. Coming into Sunday s
match, Konta considered her return
game a key to whether she would win.
"She plays really well against me,
so maybe she comes out and doesn t
feel any pressure and just swings for
it," Williams said. "I tried to stay in
there and fight. ... What can I say but
give her credit."
Konta became the fourth-oldest
first-time titlist this year. A steady
serve helped carry Konta to Sunday s
final. She nailed 11 aces and moved
Williams all over the court with an
array of powerful groundstrokes and
timely drop shots.
Konta, headed to the Olympics next
month in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, also
was the first British woman to reach
the final at Stanford since Virginia
Wade s runner-up finish in 1981.
Williams was seeking her third
tournament win at Stanford and
denied career singles championship
No. 50 while playing for her 80th
title. At 49 singles tournament wins,
she remains second among active
players only behind younger sister
Serena s 71.
"Of course I wanted to win, but I
imagine with any luck I ll have more
chances to get another title," she said.
Williams is projected to move up
to No. 6 in the next rankings. She will
play in Montreal this coming week
before the Rio Olympics next month.
"See you all in Rio," she told the
crowd before exiting the stadium.
Konta tops Venus for
first singles crown
the final in the
Bank of the
7-5, 5-7, 6-2.
beat Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-2 in the Citi
Open final Sunday to win the fifth
WTA title of her career.
Wickmayer, a 26-year-old Belgian
who was seeded No. 7 at the hard-court
tournament, is the third woman to win
both the singles and doubles champi-
onships at the same event this season.
She teamed with Monica Niculescu
to win the doubles at the Citi Open on
"It s such a great feeling to win titles
and to hold that trophy at the end of
the week," said Wickmayer, who entered
with a ranking of 44th. "Being able to
hold two trophies this week has been
In her only other appearance in
Washington, in 2013, Wickmayer lost
in the first round.
This was the first singles title of the
season for Wickmayer, whose best
Grand Slam showing was a run to the
semifinals of the U.S. Open in 2009.
She said playing in both singles and
doubles while dealing with the heat that
was in the 90s for much of the tour-
nament was not easy.
"It was a real battle out there every
day, mentally and physically," Wick-
mayer said. "I just had to stay strong
every day. ... I was feeling tired by the
end of the week."
Davis is a 22-year-old American who
is ranked 122nd and was playing in her
first WTA final.
She had won only three main-draw,
tour-level matches all year until winning
four in a row on the way to reaching
the title match at the Citi Open.
"I know how it felt being out there
the first time in my career, playing a
final," Wickmayer said. "It s not easy."
Wickmayer tops Davis
to take Citi Open
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