Johanna Konta is through to the quarter-finals of the China Open, after beating world number six Karolina Pliskova 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-2). The win means that the British number one will now face either Simona Halep or Zhang Shuai in the next round, as she looks to boost her chances of reaching the WTA Finals, which will be held in Singapore at the end of October.
Konta’s win certainly wasn’t a routine one, as she was made to fight hard by Pliskova – a player she had never beaten before. The first set was a breeze for Konta, however Pliskova then managed to level the match in the second set, when she finally converted her seventh break point of the match. The final set was then as close as they come, with Konta eventually winning through thanks to a 7-2 tie-break victory.
The match also showed how much Konta has matured as a player. After just 23 minutes, the players were led off the court due to poor weather, with Konta leading 4-1 in the first set. She didn’t allow this to affect her though, and came straight back out to win the remaining two games needed to win the first set.
Should Konta manage to perform well in this tournament, she could find herself rising into the top 10 of the world – something that has only ever been achieved by three other British women, namely Jo Durie, Sue Barker and Virginia Wade. Although unlikely, she could also qualify for the WTA Finals, which are contested by the world’s top eight players.
Should Konta want to win the tournament, her task has been made easier by the elimination of world number one Angelique Kerber, who was knocked out by Ukrainian player Elina Svitolina. There are still some big names left in the tournament though, including Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep.
Britain is also represented in the men’s competition, as both Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund have reached the quarter-finals. Only one of them will advance to the semi-finals though, as the two play each other. Murray is the favourite to win the competition, thanks to Novak Djokovic’s withdrawal prior to the tournament, however knows that the match against Edmund will be a tough one, thanks to the rapid improvements made by Edmund over the past year.
If Murray is to win the tournament, he’ll still have to beat some world class names. Defeating Edmund will lead to a possible semi-final clash with David Ferrer, and he can then potentially face Rafael Nadal or Milos Raonic in the tournament’s final.