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Venus Williams v Johanna Konta Betting: Jo needs to give us another nail-biter

Iron will - Johanna Konta has fought through more than 10 hours of tennis
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Jo Konta has kept Centre Court and a huge TV audience on the edge of their seats. Ralph Ellis thinks we're in for another epic battle in the semi-final...


"The traditional bookmakers have made Konta favourite to win the trophy, Betfair Exchange users are more analytical. Garbine Muguruza, who faces unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova, is [2.66] thanks to her easier looking semi while Konta is [3.4] in the Womens Winner market."

If nothing else, Johanna Konta's success at Wimbledon has been a huge boost for the growing network of manicurist shops throughout the country. Never have so many finger nails been bitten quite so near to their knuckles.

After five matches she's been on court for an astonishing 10 hours and 20 minutes in total as she's fought her way to the semi-finals. That's more than three hours longer than her opponent Venus Williams has had to play to reach the same stage.

After saving endless match points, set points and break points at different times, the only surprise is that the Association of Nail Technicians haven't already stepped forward to sponsor her.

Yet ironically if Jo is to defeat five-times champion Venus and become the first home player in 40 years to set foot on Centre Court for a final, then the key will actually be to stay out there longer rather than try to get it done in a hurry.

Konta's gutsy comeback quarter-final win over Simona Halep has seen her installed as [1.85] favourite in the semi-final Match Odds. It would be nice to believe it would be that simple, but the stats suggest otherwise.

She's in the top six for hitting the fastest serve at 118mph, has lost just one set so far, and has only twice even had the bother of a tie-break. She followed reaching the final of the Australian Open by getting to the fourth round on the clay in Paris, and has adapted seamlessly to the grass court season.

The last time Williams lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish might have been as long ago as 2008, and she may have just celebrated her 37th birthday. But when she's fit and healthy the older of the two sisters who have dominated the game for two decades remains as dangerous an opponent as is out there.

When it comes to mental toughness there are few better. This fortnight has been played against the background of LA police publicly blaming her for a car crash in which an elderly man lost his life - an accusation they have now withdrawn after studying video evidence that showed she did nothing wrong.

But then Konta too has proved she has an iron will, using the emotion of the Centre Court crowd to drive her along rather than being cowed by the pressure.

While on the back of natural patriotism the traditional bookmakers have made Konta favourite to win the trophy, Betfair Exchange users are more analytical. Garbine Muguruza, who faces unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova, is [2.66] thanks to her easier looking semi while Konta is [3.4] in the Womens Winner market.

For Konta to reach the final, she has to find a way of getting that fearsome serve back across the net and then engage in long rallies to make Williams move. That was ultimately the key to breaking the far more mobile Halep, and it will be the best tactic to wear down Williams too.

She also has to cut out some of the errors that still pepper her game. The Wimbledon crowd groaning became part of the soundtrack as time and again she'd manoeuvre Halep to the wrong part of the court only to hit what should have been the winning shot too long.

It's hard to believe this won't be another nail-biter, but the longer it goes the better for the British girl and [4.1] for Konta to win in three sets looks like being the best value bet.


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