Johanna Konta makes progress while Dan Evans fails as grass-court season gathers pace

Johanna Konta in action

Johanna Konta is safely through to her third consecutive Viking Open Nottingham semi-final after defeating eighth seed Alison Van Uytvanck 6-3 7-6 (8-6), having reached the final in her last two visits to the Nottingham Tennis Centre in 2017 and 2018. 

But top seed Dan Evans wasn’t so fortunate falling in three sets at the same stage. The Viking Open is one of the LTA’s summer grass court tennis events leading up to The Championships, Wimbledon.

For the second match in a row, the British No 1 started strongly winning five games in a row behind two breaks to lead 5-1 before serving out the set and despite a closer second set with the Belgian having chances to break at 2-2 and a further opportunity at 4-4 and 0-30, but Konta’s serve came to the rescue in the nick of time, six aces on the day adding to her total of 29 for the week.

In the tie-break Konta played one of the points of the match to move 5-3 ahead behind a glorious backhand lob, eventually taking the the match after one hour, 36 minutes on her fourth match point of the breaker. The Brit will now face world No.87 from Serbia Nina Stojanovic – who defeated 2017 champion Donna Vekic on Thursday and Tereza Martincova 6-2 6-4 in today’s quarterfinal – for a shot at the final.

Commenting on her performance, the Konta said: “I was really pleased with the way I was able to create opportunities and then I was just hoping to take some. I’m just enjoying being out here, playing in front of you all and being back on this surface. I’m just trying to play as many matches and with that you can gain that match fitness and get that tightness to help you make the right decisions in matches.”

In the other half of the women’s draw, Britain’s No.8 Katie Boulter from Leicester was forced to retire against No.14 seed Lauren Davis due to a right elbow injury, having taken the first 7-6 (8-6) but dropped serve to trail 0-2 in the second set.

Davis will now face No.4 seed Zhang Shuai from China who outlasted France’s No.7 seed Kristina Mladenovic in a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) marathon lasting 2:33.

In Saturday’s semifinals, Konta opens play first on Centre Court at 12 noon, with Davis to face Zhang immediately after. 

In the concurrent ATP Challenger event, top seed from Birmingham Dan Evans was pipped to the post in his quarter-final against No.6 seed Denis Kudla falling 64 16 64 after 2:02.

Evans regrouped well to take the second set and recovered an early break in the decider to level at 4-4 only to drop serve again in game nine. 

Kudla wil now face No.8 seed Kamil Majchrzak for a spot in the final in the last match on Centre. 

Third on Saturday, after the women’s semifinals, No.2 seed Frances Tiafoe from the United States takes on Romanian qualifier Marius Copil.

There was British success in the men’s doubles Friday, where Liverpool’s Ken Skupski will get a chance at lifting the title this weekend after he and Australian Matt Reid defeated Antoine Hoang and Ramkumar Ramanathan 7-5, 6-3. They will play Matt Ebden and John-Patrick Smith in the final first on Court 1 at 11:00.

The tournament is being streamed live on the BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and LTA’s YouTube, Facebook and TikTok channels.

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