Johanna Konta tops Venus Williams for first singles title

By The Sports Xchange   |   July 25, 2016 at 12:07 AM
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England's Johanna Konta captured the first singles title of her WTA Tour career, beating Venus Williams 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 in the Bank of the West Classic final at Stanford, Calif., on Sunday.

Konta, barely in the top 150 in the world just over a year ago, is due to rise to a career-high 14th in the rankings next week.

"It was quite an incredibly humbling experience," Konta said. "It's a great validation of the hard work you do put in, and it's a great motivator on the things you want to keep getting better at, the length you want to go to become that much more better at your discipline."

She gained some confidence heading into the match by beating Williams in the opening round of the Australian Open this year.

"I played her twice previously, and I knew going into it that I was going to be playing against a magnitude of experience," Konta said. "Venus Williams doesn't need an introduction. I knew going into it that I just had to stay as focused as I could on myself and to be really grateful for the experience and try to learn from her within the match."

Williams, who was looking for her 50th career title and her third in this event, forced a third set by rallying from a 1-4 hole in the middle set.

Konta eventually sealed the championship on her third match point.

"She plays really well against me," Williams said. "I don't know. Maybe she comes out and doesn't feel any pressure and swings for it. She played really well in Australia. I played definitely a lot better than in Australia."

The title came in Konta's first career final. Konta advanced to the semifinals of the Australian Open in January, the first time she got past the fourth round of a Grand Slam event, and she was a semifinalist in the Wimbledon warmup at Eastbourne in June.

Williams, ranked seventh in the world, fell to her sister Serena, the eventual champion, last month in the Wimbledon semifinals. She made her pro debut in the Bay Area tournament in 1994.

--Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer completed a sweep of the Citi Open titles by topping Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-2 in the singles final at Washington.

Wickmayer, 26, captured the doubles crown with Romania's Monica Niculescu on Saturday. The singles crown was the fifth of her career, and she joined two others to record singles-doubles sweeps on the WTA Tour this year.

"It's such a great feeling to win titles and to hold that trophy at the end of the week," she said. "Being able to hold two trophies this week has been great."

Davis, a 22-year-old Ohio native, was appearing in her first career singles final. The world's 122nd-ranked player, she managed to extend the match to just 92 minutes.

"I'm really pleased with the week that I had," Davis said after the trophy ceremony. "I think Yanina played really well today. She handled the circumstances really well. She has a lot of experience, but I think I'm just going to take away what I can from this. I think everything is extremely positive, and I'm looking forward to moving forward."

--Sixth-seeded Laura Siegemund rolled to a 7-5, 6-1 victory over the Czech Republic's Katerina Siniakova to win the Ericsson Open final at Bastad, Sweden.

The WTA title was the first for the 28-year-old Siegemund.

"I was in good shape, and was playing well last week as well," Siegemund said. "I knew I could do well here but winning the whole thing is something you might not really expect or think about."

Siegemund needed just 83 minutes to complete her straight-set victory.

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