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Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open

Top 10 debut for Hong Kong-bound Johanna Konta with China Open semi-final win

The Briton beat American Madison Keys 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-4 to move a step closer to a second title of the season and her career

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 October, 2016, 7:35pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 October, 2016, 7:35pm

Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open-bound Johanna Konta became the first British woman in a generation to break into the world’s top 10 as she booked her spot in the China Open final on Saturday.

The Briton put in a solid performance to advance to the biggest final of her career after beating eighth-ranked American Madison Keys 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-4.

After a tight first set, Keys’ serve let her down in the tiebreaker but she rallied in the second despite continued pressure from the Briton.

After demanding seven set points from Keys for the second set, Konta stepped up her game in the third, keeping the American on the defensive to take her a step closer to her second title of the season and her career.

Watch: Johanna Konta v Madison Keys

“I don’t think she made a lot of unforced errors or gave me a lot of balls to be able to get on the offense,” Keys said.

Konta, 25, burst onto the scene at last year’s US Open where she reached the last 16 by claiming two top 20 scalps en route.

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She has gone up another gear this season, becoming the first British woman to reach a grand slam semi-final in 33 years at the Australian Open and reaching the quarter-finals at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

The win in the Chinese capital is yet another one for the record books as she will be the first British woman to break into the top 10 since Jo Durie in 1984 when the new rankings are released on Monday.

Durie, who reached a career high of five, tweeted her congratulations after the match: “Congrats to @JoKonta91 a fantastic year & thoroughly deserves the Top Ten ranking. More to come I’m sure.”

There was a lot on the line for both players as they chase points to qualify for the first time for the eight player season finale in Singapore.

Konta moves into eighth spot with the semi-final win, while Keys remains in seventh position, but with two weeks to go before the tournament, both could be nudged out.