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11 December 2023

Giant-killer Konta into WTA San Jose quarters


Johanna Konta followed up her stunning victory over Serena Williams with another brisk triumph Wednesday, downing US teenager Sofia Kenin 6-1, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of the WTA hardcourt tournament in San Jose.

Konta, who won her first WTA title at this event back in 2016, let-down after handing 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams the most lopsided defeat of her career -- 6-1, 6-0.

The tournament lost another big name when top-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza pulled out of the tournament with a right arm injury, hours before she was to face former world number one Victoria Azarenka for a place in the quarters.

The Spaniard, bounced from the second round in her title defense at Wimbledon, had been hoping to rebound on the hard courts of San Jose with the US Open looming in less than a month.

"I've been feeling some pain in my right arm for a couple of days and realized I am not ready to play the match, so hopefully I can recover for the next tournaments," Muguruza said in a statement.

For Konta, however, it was full speed ahead.

The Briton needed just 70 minutes to dispatch Kenin, blasting 20 winners -- including nine aces -- with just 13 unforced errors.

Kenin put up a determined defense, but 19 unforced errors proved too much to overcome and she was unable to convert either of her two break point opportunities.

Konta, a former world number four now ranked 48th, next faces fourth-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium for a place in the semi-finals.

Mertens reached the last eight with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over American wild card Ashley Kratzer.

In other early second-round action on Wednesday, American Danielle Collins defeated Vera Lapko of Belarus 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

Collins next faces either Azarenka or Russian Anna Blinkova, the lucky loser drafted to replace Muguruza in the draw.