Well, 39 years ago, Britain’s Virginia Wade was playing in the semi final of Wimbledon and not since then has a British woman been back to that stage of the Grand Slam. Until now that is. Johanna Konta battled her way from a set down against second seed Simona Halep to reach the final four at SW19 on Tuesday. It was another epic battle for Konta, but at the same time another example of her amazing fortitude in refusing to be beaten. Standing in her way now is five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams.
The American of course is no stranger to this type of pressure and even though she is the veteran of the final four, she remains one of those players who no-one wants to meet. She was in last season’s Wimbledon semi final where she lost out to current world number one Angelique Kerber, so that could give Konta, who will be cheered on by the home support of course. Konta goes in as 8/11 favourite with William Hill for the match, with Williams hovering at even money.
Johanna Konta Form
What’s that old saying about form is temporary, class is permanent? Well, Konta is a class act and her form really hasn’t been top-drawer through the tournament, which in a way is a good thing, because there should be more to come. She has been made to work hard, but that is because she is not a natural grass court player, but seems to be finding her feet on it. She has been taken to three sets by Donna Vekic, Caroline Garcia and now Simona Halep in the competition so far and all those extra games from those extended matches can really stack up. With all of those dropped sets around though, it does suggest that a three-setter is an inevitability for this semi final clash and there’s 11/8 at Sky Bet for three sets. The most notable thing about Konta’s progress at this year’s championship is how she handles pressure. She has really stepped up on the big points, something that she wasn’t doing even twelve months ago. The belief is there and the way she stepped up in the final set aginast Halep was simply, brilliant.
Venus Williams Form
For all of the mental anguish that Williams has had behind the scenes after being involved in that fatal car crash in Florida just ahead of the Championships, she has handled herself so well throughout the event. She was emotionless throughout her quarter final battle with young Latvian upstart Jelena Ostapenko and it wasn’t until the winning stroke that Williams broke out a smile. What does that tell you? That she means business and wasn’t taking her opponent lightly. She will be the same way against Konta, fully focused in. Think that the 37 year old doesn’t have it? Well she went to the final of the Australian Open this year and another notable run was to the semifinals of Miami. So her form this season isn’t all that bad really, but hasn’t been able to convert anything into a title.
There is some previous head to head form to look at between the two of them, with Konta ahead 3-2. Two of those meetings did go down this season with Konta stopping Williams in straight sets in the Miami semi finals before Williams got back at her over three sets on the clay in Rome. Clay isn’t a strong suit for Konta either really and it’s notable that Konta’s three match winning streak over Williams all came on the hard court. This will be their first meeting on grass.
Top Betting Tips
Williams’ serve on grass is heightened and is still one of the most devastating around in the game, and that could cause Konta some problems. It is going to be oh-so important for Konta to get the first set on the board in this one, because Williams can close things with her serve if she gets ahead in the match. Konta will have a lot more energy in her step and she does so much good work with her legs that the more she moves her opponent around the court the more quickly she will wear down the veteran. This will be a huge test of Konta’s nerves, composure and grit and seeing the Brit get through to the final with a 2-1 set win for a price of 3/1 at Ladbrokes serves up big value.