It was a battle of the three-set queens when British No. 1 Johanna Konta faced Hsieh Su-Weiover the net in the quarter-final in Rabat. Hsieh, who beat Konta on the dirt at Roland Garros in 2017, started far brighter, quickly jumping out to a 3-0 lead while Konta was working up to warming up her serve.
Once she got on the board she appeared to settle down, and pulled back the deficit, breaking and staying on a par with Hsieh up to a first set tie-break. However it proved to be one-way traffic as Hsieh picked up the pace to seal the first set.
The second set was a lot more competitive, with Konta breaking for a 5-3 lead, but Hsieh responded by breaking her back to love as well, and the battle for the set saw Konta convert on her fourth set point.
Things got a bit nervier in the decider with the pair trading breaks at the start, before Konta once more broke for a 5-3 lead, only again to be pegged back. Repeating the pattern of the previous set, Konta had to break for the win, earning herself a spot in her first tour level semi-final.
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It will be a third meeting this year alone for Konta and Ajla Tomljanovic. The Aussie got some suitable revenge for having been beaten in Brisbane last year, as she took Konta out this year in the exact same round, but Konta edged ahead in their head to head with a first round win over her at the Australian Open.
Tomljanovic has been busy this clay court season – she started on the curious grey-green stuff in Charleston, but suffered a first round defeat in Istanbul before reaching the semi-final. Unlike Konta, she has only been taken the distance once this week, so might just be a little fresher in the legs by now.
Both Tomljanovic and Konta have solid serves, and the Aussie looks to back hers up with her backhand. Konta has a great attacking drive from the baseline, and has been adding more drop-shots and volleys… with varying success, but this week she has also fallen back to her more aggressive dictating game when that has not been working rather than relentlessly trying it over and over, as we have seen these past few weeks.
Ideally Konta will want to put this away in straight sets, but the pair have gone the distance a couple of times, and on this surface, the Brit may have to prepare herself for another three setter – but these wins should give her a lot of confidence.
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