Konta’s brilliant comeback against Stephens
Wimbledon 2019 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 1-14 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app. Full details

British number one Johanna Konta staged a determined comeback to beat American ninth seed Sloane Stephens and reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.

The 2017 semi-finalist had trailed by a set and was under pressure on her serve before regrouping to win 3-6 6-4 6-1.

She is the only home hope left in the women’s singles after Harriet Dart’s 6-1 6-1 loss to top seed Ashleigh Barty.

Dan Evans, the only British man still in the singles, faces Joao Sousa in the third round later on Saturday.

Konta will face Czech two-time champion Petra Kvitova for a place in the quarter-finals on Monday.

“I just kept plugging away more than anything,” Konta told BBC television.

“I was fully prepared to not be coming back in that second set because she really was playing well. I was really pleased I could keep battling, I was pleased I could mix things up and I did a good job in getting her out of that zone.”

Konta turns frustration into fightback

Last month Konta had dominated Stephens in a 6-1 6-4 victory in the French Open quarter-finals last month, playing some of the best tennis of her career.

But the 28-year-old struggled to find her rhythm and became frustrated with herself at times against the 26-year-old American on Court One.

After losing the first set when she netted a backhand, Konta found herself under increasing pressure on her serve in the second.

She showed glimpses of the mental negativity that has hampered her in the past, shooting glances at her coach Dimitri Zavialoff and berating herself for her wayward shots.

But she then translated that into fighting spirit in the fifth game of the second set when she was taken to deuce six times and saved three break points before eventually holding.

That proved to be the start of a comeback as she went on to break the American in the 10th game to take the set and force a decider.

From then on she did not look back – the overcooked forehands found the lines and the head-shaking at changeovers became fist pumps as she won five games in a row from late in the second set to surge ahead in the third.

And her victory was complete when Stephens hit long with just over two hours on the clock.

Dart learns ‘tough lesson’

Harriet Dart is the British number four and was appearing in the main draw at Wimbledon for only the second time

Dart exits with her head held high after a tournament that marked her first back-to-back wins at tour level.

The world number 182 had said beforehand that the match against French Open champion Barty would provide her with a good measure of where her tennis was at.

Having lost 6-0 6-0 to Maria Sharapova in her last match against a high-profile player on the main show court of a Grand Slam at January’s Australian Open, she can be comforted by the fact she got herself on the scoreboard in the 53-minute defeat by Barty.

Barty – who has been beaten by only one player outside the world’s top 10 this year – dropped just three points on serve in the first set, moving a double break up before the world number 182 was finally able to hold.

Dart went a double break down at the start of the second set before showing signs of her form of previous rounds, reaching four break points before allowing Barty to hold.

“It’s a good learning curve for me,” she said. “She played great. She didn’t let me in the match at all.

“It’s a tough lesson to learn. It’s been a great tournament for me. I should take a lot of positives from it.”

Barty, who is the first Australian to reach the women’s singles fourth round at Wimbledon since 2010, said the young Briton had a bright future.

“Harriet is going to have a fantastic career. I know she will play out on Centre Court again soon,” said the Australian, who will play American Alison Riske in the fourth round.

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