San Francisco - Britain's Johanna Konta
captured her first WTA title in style on Sunday, beating former world number
one Venus Williams 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 at the WTA hard-court tournament in Stanford,
Konta, ranked 18th in the world and seeded
third, appeared on her way to an emphatic victory in her first career final
after racing to a 4-1 lead with two breaks of serve in the second set.
But Williams, seeking her 50th career
title, won six of the next seven games to knot the match at a set apiece.
The 25-year-old Konta, who fired 12 aces to
three from Williams, didn't let the seven-time Grand Slam champion's resurgence
"Quite honestly you'd expect nothing
less of a champion that she is," Konta said. "That's what great
champions do. They raise their level. They definitely don't give away a
Refreshed after a brief bathroom break, she
broke Williams in the third game of the final set, and took a 3-1 lead with her
10th ace of the match.
She broke Williams again to serve for the
match at 5-2, and despite a couple of nervy missteps in the final game sealed
the victory on her third match point.
"It was quite an incredibly humbling
experience," said Konta, the first Briton to win the tournament since Sue
Barker in 1977.
"It's a great validation of the hard
work you do put in, and it's a great motivator on the things you want to keep
getting better at, the length you want to go to become that much more better at
your discipline. "
Konta had launched her career-best season
with a win over Williams in the first round of the Australian Open, where she
went on to reach the semi-finals.
Britain's top player has since gone from
strength to strength, making the second week of both Indian Wells and Miami,
and reaching the semi-finals at Eastbourne.
"It's daily work," Konta said of her rise. "It's daily desire to keep getting better."