Cyprus Mail
French Open

Konta sweeps Stephens aside to reach French Open semis

Johanna Konta cruised into the semi-finals of the French Open, blitzing last year's runner-up Sloane Stephens 6-1 6-4 to become the first British woman into the last four in Paris since 1983

Johanna Konta swept aside seventh seed Sloane Stephens with an extraordinary display to reach her third grand slam semi-final at the French Open.

It was scarcely believable that this was the same player who had never won a main-draw match at Roland Garros before this year as she raced to a 6-1 6-4 victory in a flurry of winners.

Stephens lost in the final last year to Simona Halep and had been backed to get there again but she was powerless to stop Konta, who hit 25 winners in the match and only dropped one point on serve in the second set.

By reaching the last four, Konta has matched her own best grand slam performances at the Australian Open in 2016 and Wimbledon the following year, as well as the performance of Jo Durie, who was the last British woman to reach the last four here in 1983.

But none of Konta’s previous runs has been quite like this, with the 28-year-old simply bulldozing through her opposition on a surface that had been by far her worst prior to this season.

A lot of credit must go to Konta’s French coach Dimitri Zavialoff, who she began working with in October and who has imbued her with the self-belief to trust in her game and her decision-making.

As usual, Court Philippe Chatrier began the day sparsely populated, which hardly made for a big-match feel.

Both players looked a little nervous at the outset but Konta held serve after an eight-minute opening game and then quickly stamped her authority on proceedings.

The last British finalist in Paris was Sue Barker who lifted the trophy in 1976.

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