WTA

On this day in 2016: Johanna Konta breaks into world’s top 10

By Sports Desk October 08, 2023

Johanna Konta became the first British woman to break into the world’s top 10 in 32 years after beating Madison Keys on this day in 2016 to reach the final of the China Open.

Konta, then 25, beat American world number nine Madison Keys 7-6 (1) 4-6 6-4 in the last four and was the first British player since Jo Durie in 1984 to enter the WTA’s top 10.

Despite losing to Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska in the final in Beijing, Konta ended the year as number 10 in the rankings.

Konta’s rapid rise coincided with her decision to team up with coach Esteban Carril in northern Spain 17 months earlier, when she was ranked 146th in the world.

She had reached the fourth round of the US Open to end 2015 inside the top 50 and earlier in 2016 reached the Australian Open semi-finals and won her first WTA title at Stanford.

Konta’s victory over Keys at the China Open was her seventh over a top-10 player in 2016.

She won her second WTA title in Sydney in early 2017, reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and triumphed at the Miami Open by beating former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

That success saw Konta rise to world number seven and she climbed to a career-high position of fourth in 2017 after becoming the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon singles semi-finals since Virginia Wade in 1978.

Konta lost to Venus Williams in the last four and after injury setbacks and loss of form in 2018, reached the French Open semi-finals and the US Open quarter-finals in 2019.

After further struggles with form and fitness – she was dogged by a right knee injury – Konta announced her retirement in December 2021.

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