Top 10 career highlights of former British No 1 Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta announced she was retiring from tennis on social media last week due to a long-term knee injury.
Although the 30-year-old doesn’t have a Grand Slam title to her name, she managed to reach No 4 in the world rankings in 2017 and represented her country at the Rio Olympics.
Ever since she gained British citizenship in 2012 she changed her allegiances from Australia to Britain and has represented the nation ever since.
Perhaps the most successful British female tennis player since Jo Durie – well since the emergency of Emma Raducanu – has done a lot in her 13-year career, so here is a round-up of her best moments:
10) First Grand Slam – Wimbledon 2012
The Australian-born tennis player had only just gained her British citizenship in May when she was awarded a main draw wildcard entry to the most prestigious event in British tennis.
She didn’t even get an opportunity to ease herself into the life of Brit at Wimbledon – there were no strawberries and Pimms.
Instead she faced American Christina McHale on court in the opening round, but she was beaten 10-8 in the deciding set, marking the end to her first Grand Slam experience.
— Tennis Handshakes (@TennisHandshake) June 12, 2020
9) First career win at a Grand Slam – 2012 US Open
It was only her second Grand Slam appearance in her life and Konta caused a stir when she beat Timea Babos, who was ranked No 59 at the time, despite the Brit’s position being almost 150 places below that.
This was the first time she’d ever won a game at a major tournament and although she hoped to extend this to two consecutive matches, it wasn’t meant to be as she gave away her 5-2 lead to Olga Govortsova in the second round.
However, her performance at the US Open put her into the world’s top 150 places for the first time, although she ended No 153 at the end of the 2012 season.
8) Fourth round at the 2015 US Open
Konta entered the US Open this time around through qualifying and after beating Hungary’s Reka Luca Jani, Naomi Osaka and Tamira Paszek from Austria, she made it into the main draw.
She won her three opening matches and maintained her match winning streak which jumped to 16, despite her second round tie with Garbine Muguruza lasting a massive three hours and 23 minutes where she achieved her second top-10 win.
In the round of 16 she faced two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova but Konta lost the match in two tight sets bringing her most successful Grand Slam so far to an end.
7) British No 1 – 2015 Wuhan Open
The next event after the US Open was the Wuhan Open which saw her get into the top 50 after reaching the quarter-finals where she faced Venus Williams, who went on to win the tournament, in a three-set battle.
In the third round Konta overcame world No 2 Simona Halep, the top seed for the competition, who had 5-1 advantage, but the Brit went on to win six consecutive games to claim victory over the Romanian.
This performance at the Wuhan Open also helped to Konta overtaking Heather Watson to become the British No 1.
6) 2016 Rio Olympics
The former British No 1 represented her chosen country at the Olympics in 2016 in women’s doubles, mixed doubles and singles, though it was the singles event where Konta would shine the brightest.
She partnered with Jamie Murray for the mixed doubles, but they were eliminated in the first round by Team USA who went on to win gold in the event.
Konta and her women’s doubles partner Heather Watson bowed out of the women’s doubles event as they were beaten by the Chinese Taipei team, also known as Taiwan.
She managed to get to the quarter-finals in the singles, defeating Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round, however she went home without any medals as she was beaten by Angelique Kerber from Germany in the last eight – but Konta was still awarded the opportunity to represent her country on the world stage.
5) Semi-final of a Grand Slam – 2016 Australian Open
The first round of the opening Grand Slam of the season should have been a tough one on paper for Konta – eighth seed Venus Williams – but she made it look easy and won in straight sets, before easing past Zheng Saisai and Denisa Allertova in the next two rounds.
Konta was behind in her fourth round match against Ekaterina Makarova as she lost the opening set, but managed to come out of the game victorious to claim her first-ever Grand Slam quarter-final.
However, she was to go one better and she faced Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals, but she was beaten by the eventual champion in straight sets.
Despite not making it to the final, Konta achieved other fine accomplishments as a result of her display at the Australian Open – she became the first British female player to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in 32 years, moved up to No 28 in the WTA Rankings and passed the $1 million mark for career earnings.
4) 2019 French Open semi-finals
After hitting rocky form, reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros was just what Konta needed in 2019 despite not being successful at the French Open at her previous four appearances.
She defeated the likes of Antonia Lottner from Germany, Croatian Donna Vekic and Sloane Stephens to become the first British female player to reach the last-four stage of the red clay Grand Slam since Jo Durie in 1983.
Although she was beaten in the match by Marketa Vondrousova, she did get back into the top 20 of the WTA Rankings.
Johanna #Konta on clay at WTA level:
Pre-2019 – 15-22
2019 – 15-3
Johanna Konta at the French Open:
Pre-2019 – 0-4
2019 – 5-0
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) June 4, 2019
3) 2017 Wimbledon semi-finals
The Brit started off strong in her Wimbledon campaign by seeing off Hsieh Su-wei in straight sets in the first round before claiming a three-set victory over Donna Vekic.
Konta eventually made it to the quarter-finals where she faced Simona Halep and beat the Romanian to become the first British woman to make it to Wimbledon semi-finals singles since 1978 when Virginia Wade managed achieved the feat.
2017 – Johanna #Konta is the last British player to reach the Semi-finals at #Wimbledon (2017) – in doing so she became the first British woman since Virginia Wade in 1978 to reach that far at SW19. Retirement. pic.twitter.com/x1WQ1Sxyt7
— OptaAce (@OptaAce) December 1, 2021
She was defeated by Venus Williams in the semi-finals but what she lost by not making it to the final, she made up for by becoming world No 4.
2) 2016 China Open final
In 2016 Konta made it all the way to the final of a tournament when she played in the China Open in Beijing.
The Brit denied wins to Latvian player Anastasija Sevastova, Timea Babos and Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic to earn a place in the semi-finals where she beat the Chinese No 1 Zhang Shuai.
Her last victory before the final was against Madison Keys, which put her in the top 10 for the first time in her career and she was awarded a qualifying place for the WTA Finals.
Despite this being Konta’s best run in a tournament, she failed to win the title as she was beaten by former world No 2 Agnieszka Radwanska in the final.
1) 2017 Miami Open champion
This is biggest and most prestigious title Konta won in her tennis career.
In 2017 she defeated some of the highest-ranked players including Simona Halep, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki to win the Premier Mandatory event.
Her victory put her back into the WTA’s top 10 as she went up to No 7.
Although she never won a Grand Slam title, Premier Mandatory events are the next best thing and Konta can retire from her career knowing that she had a pretty successful one.
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