Nottingham Open: Johanna Konta beats Zhang Shuai to win fourth WTA title

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BRITAIN’S Johanna Konta won her first title for four years by beating China’s Zhang Shuai at the Nottingham Open.

Konta, 30, had lost in the final at the Nottingham Tennis Centre in 2017 and 2018 but sealed a 6-2 6-1 success to claim a first grass-court title.

The top seed broke the serve of Zhang, 32, twice in the first set and then three more times in the second set as she secured her fourth WTA title.

Konta’s last title came in April 2017 with victory at the Miami Open.

Since then, the British number one had lost in four finals but produced a superb performance as she was too good for her opponent, ranked 46th in the world.

“I didn’t take this for granted, I’ve lost quite a few finals and it’s very hard to win a tournament so I know how lucky and fortunate I am to be standing here winning trophies,” said Konta, whose good form comes a fortnight before the start of Wimbledon.

“I’m grateful I’ve been able to put five matches together and I’m proud of myself and my team. I’m enjoying my tennis and doing the best I can.

“I’ve not done a winning speech in a long time and it’s very nice. I love Nottingham and this centre court is a beautiful court to play on.”

Konta had beaten Zhang in five of their previous six meetings, including victories at the quarter-finals of the 2016 Australian Open and the last 32 of the 2012 and 2019 US Opens.

The world number 20, cheered on by hundreds of fans, saved a break point in her first service game, before claiming two quick breaks as she then dominated.

She produced nine aces, no double faults and won more than 80% of points on her first serve.

Konta becomes the first home female player to win a WTA singles event in England since Sue Barker won the indoor Daihatsu Challenge event in Brighton in October 1981.

Before arriving in Nottingham, Konta had been without back-to-back wins this season.

BBC Sport

– June 14, 2021 @ 12:24 GMT |

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