Konta is still smiling as New York fairy tale ends

Johanna Konta with Petra Kvitova at the US Open
Johanna Konta with Petra Kvitova at the US Open

Johanna Konta’s New York fairy tale came to an end on Tuesday but she left the US Open in upbeat mood following the most successful Grand Slam of her career.

The 24-year-old from Eastbourne successfully negotiated three round of qualifying to make it through to the main draw.

From there Konta triumphed against American wild card Loiisa Chiroco in straight sets before beating Spanish ninth seed and Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza in three gruelling sets.

She then became the first British qualifier to ever reach the fourth round of the US Open following a superb 7-6, 6-3 victory against 18th seed Andrea Petkovic.

That was Konta’s 16th consecutive win. Her last defeat was to Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon and it was the longest winning streak by a British woman this millennium.

World No. 4 Petra Kvitova was next up at the Arthur Ashe Stadium and despite pushing the double Wimbledon Champion to the limit for two sets, Kvitova closed out 7-5, 6-3.

Konta arrived in New York ranked 97th in the world.

Her progress at Flushing Meadows propelled her into the 60s and she needs just another 17 ranking points to topple Heather Watson as the British No.1.

A happy but slightly jet-lagged Konta, speaking to the Herald on Wednesday said, “To play on that stage and compete against some of the best players in the world is a great feeling.

“The atmosphere on court is electric, you can feel it. You can hear the buzz of the city, you can hear the police sirens going past the stadium as you are playing.

“It’s quite something as the crowd are noisy, the music is playing and it’s a real experience to play on that stage.

“But I felt comfortable on court. I felt fit and healthy and I had some good results going into it. It is nice to come away and say that I have had some reward for the hard work.”

Recent results and performances suggest Konta is capable of competing with the very best on tour and she believes the more she battles against the top opponents the better her game will become.

“If I can keep putting myself in those positions and giving myself those opportunities to play against the best then that’s the level of tennis you get used to.

“But the strength in depth of the women’s tour is very strong. No matter what tournament you are playing in you never get an easy match. If you drop your levels you will get beaten.”

Konta, who lives on Sovereign Harbour, plans to relax for a while in Eastbourne before jetting off to her next event in Beijing.

“It’s nice to be back in Eastbourne for a while as it has been a very busy period. I’m feeling a little tired from the flying but considering the amount of tennis I have played the body feels good, I am healthy and no injuries from the US Open.”

Of potentially becoming British No.1 she added, “It would be great but I just have to keep performing well and hopefully the results and the rankings will come.”