Published: Sat, April 01, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Konta expects gruelling battle in Miami Open final against Wozniacki


Caroline Wozniacki has reached the final at the Miami Open for the first time, the No. 12 seed outlasting second-seeded Karolina Pliskova 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 on Thursday in the first women's semifinal. She won the first three games of the second set - with Pliskova giving her racket a toss afterward - and then controlled the rest of the match.

Konta, who recovered from 1-3 down in the second set, admitted: "I think there was so little in this match to go either way, so I'm just very pleased that I was able to really capitalise on a few more opportunities than her".

Wozniacki's final opponent will be the victor of Thursday's second semi between 11th-seeded American Venus Williams and Britain's number 10 seed Johanna Konta.

Williams and her dad have been coming together to Key Biscayne for 20 years, and she moved a step closer to her first title in the event since 2001 by beating top-ranked Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 on Wednesday night in the Miami Open quarterfinals.

However, unforced errors under pressure caused Konta greatly as she wasted a total of four break points to allow Williams to hold her serve narrowly.

"It's extremely special", she said of reaching her first Miami final.

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The Dane raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and never looked back, carrying on where she left off in the decider to advance to her third final of 2017.

Wozniacki, playing at Key Biscayne for the tenth time, was clearly the fresher player as the match went along on an 80-degree sunny afternoon. But on an evening littered with break points - Konta had 17 to Williams' 10 - the former world No1 broke back. Kerber stayed rooted to the baseline and was on the defensive even when she served, facing 13 break points and losing serve five times.

The one that became a model for young female players the world over back about a decade ago.

Quarterfinal results: Men: Rafael Nadal bt Jack Sock 6-2, 6-3; Fabio Fognini bt Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2.

"Caroline's one of the best athletes on tour, so I know I am going to be running for a lot of balls", said Konta. "It's a huge part of my game", Wozniacki, who completed the 2014 New York Marathon in less than three-and-a-half hours, said in a courtside interview. Although she fought and is confident, Venus is playing some sublime tennis. "I can say that I'm better than before, and I'm working on it".

Aside of winning the Miami Open back-to-back in 1998-99 and then again in 2001, Venus made the trip to the finals of the tournament on other occasion, in 2010.

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