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Sport Wimbledon: Can Johanna Konta's Nottingham Open triumph spark a Grand Slam run?

20:10  14 june  2021
20:10  14 june  2021 Source:   givemesport.com

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Britain’s Johanna Konta won her first WTA title in four years after beating China’s Zhang Shuai in the Nottingham Open Final.

Johanna Konta holding a racket © GiveMeSport Johanna Konta

The 30-year-old last won an event back in 2017 but dominated the world number 41 to seal a 6-2 6-1 victory.

Konta’s triumph was her first on grass and the first British win by a female player in a WTA singles event in England since Sue Barker won the 1981 indoor Daihatsu Challenge event in Brighton.

It’s been a challenging couple of years for the 30-year-old, who has battled a persistent knee injury and has failed to reach beyond the second round of her last five Grand Slam events.

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Before Nottingham, the Brit had not won consecutive matches since the Western and Southern Open last year. She was also knocked out of this year’s French Open in the opening round by Romania’s Sorana Cîrstea.

But, with Wimbledon now just two weeks away, Konta has seemingly found form at the perfect time.

Against Shaui, the former world number four produced nine aces, served no double faults and won more than 80 percent of points on her first serve.

There were no signs of this troubling knee problem either, suggesting the British number one has made a full recovery, though she admitted she was just grateful to have put a string of matches together.

Perhaps it was the boost of the crowd support that helped her find the confidence to win so emphatically, or maybe the old Johanna Konta –– who reached two major quarter-finals and one semi back in 2019, has rediscovered this winning mentality.

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Regardless, having reached the semi-final at the All England Club before back in 2017, there is now the belief and anticipation that the Brit could put together a run once again.

This is obviously an ambitious prediction, given the nature of Konta’s form before last week.

But, as we saw in the French Open, the women’s draw at major tournaments always seems to throw up surprises.

Barbora Krejčíková was an unseeded winner at Roland-Garros, while many of the world’s top stars, including Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep, are battling injuries ahead of Wimbledon.

And, of course, whether fully fit or not, she’ll have the added bonus of an adoring home crowd to cheer her on.

To suggest Konta could win her first major in front of an English audience is still a long shot. Yet, with form, fitness and fighting spirit having returned, it is a far bigger shot than we ever would’ve foreseen.

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