Charles Perrin assesses why Konta is a natural on the grass and why she can go all the way at SW19...
"Konta has fire in her belly and she has a real affinity with the grass."
Johanna Konta survived what is known as 'Manic Monday' to book her spot in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, but she was forced to work hard for her victory. The affable Brit has been growing in confidence over the past few months and she has been making all the right moves.
With a lot of the top seeds falling by the wayside during the tournament, the draw has opened up for the 28-year-old as she seeks to claim a maiden Grand Slam title. Although obstacles loom, including a last eight meeting with potential banana skin Barbora Strycova today, she can end the country's long wait for a female British woman to claim glory at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
Up for the fight
So far, Konta has demonstrated true grit and determination on her run to the last eight. While she was rarely troubled in the first two rounds, the third and fourth rounds paid testament to her battling qualities. In coming from behind against Sloane Stephens and then Petra Kvitova - a two-time Wimbledon champion - Konta has the belief in her game that was missing in the past 18 months. She earned back-to-back wins over Top 10 players in the process for the first time in her career and her game is well suited to grass.
And she is getting backing with the Betfair Exchange as she is trading as third favourite at 5.805/1 to triumph at SW19.
Naturally, Serena Williams - a seven-times champion - is the shortest price at 2.6813/8 to land a 24th Grand Slam title, but Konta has fire in her belly and she has a real affinity with the grass. Although Strycova could cause problems, Konta is strong on both wings and likes to get to the net when she can. Her match point against Kvitova proved that when she worked the angles well to put away a simple volley. Moreover, she can mix it up and often leaves her opponents guessing.
Following in Wade's footsteps?
After a swift climb back up the rankings in the past few months, Konta has found real momentum and two years ago she reached the last four at Wimbledon. Of course, Britain has been waiting a long time for a female Wimbledon champion. In fact, Virginia Wade was the last time to get her hands on the Rosewater dish in 1977. Konta would love to make history and it would be very special if she could go all the way at SW19.
Konta is under no illusion about the task facing her and when reflecting on her fortnight so far, she said: "Obviously the experience that I had in 2017 was a magnificent one, it was something that is incredibly special to me.
"Equally how I'm doing so far, I'm just really pleased with the level I'm playing, how I'm competing, how I'm really just trying to find a way in each match that I play. I'm playing very tough matches against very tough opponents."
Maybe, just maybe, this could be Konta's time.
Back Johanna Konta @ 5.805/1 to Win Wimbledon