BRITAIN’S Johanna Konta recovered from the brink of defeat at the Miami Open on Wednesday to beat third seed Simona Halep in the quarter-final.
Halep was only two points from victory in the second set, but could not put away her opponent, who pounced on the Romanian’s evident emotional fragility to prevail 3-6 7-6(7) 6-2.
“It was a really tough match, very high level,” Halep told the WTA after the match.
“I was so close to winning, I was two points away in the tiebreak, but she played very strong and deserved to win today.”
Despite the result, Halep took comfort from a solid tournament as she works her way back from a knee injury.
“I’m happy to be here after the break that I had. I’m just disappointed I lost a match I had in my hands. But my confidence is there, the game is there, I just need to play matches.”
Her post-match comments were more positive than her negative remarks to coach Darren Cahill after the second set.
Cahill told a sullen Halep she was a better athlete than Konta, imploring her to make her opponent run in the third set.
“You can write yourself off but I’m not writing you off,” Cahill said. “It’s up to you. It comes from within … Be brave in the big moments.”
Cahill’s remarks did not have the desired effect, however. “This is my character,” Halep grumbled to her coach. “Two double faults at the end of the tiebreak and I miss all the balls.”
Halep was completely outplayed in the final set, and she admitted afterwards that her exchange with Cahill was nothing out of the ordinary.
“It’s just my personality to be hard on myself. I want to change that in the future. I can say that I’m better than before, and I’m working on it.”
Tenth seed Konta, meanwhile, looked forward to a semi-final against either American Venus Williams or German top seed Angelique Kerber.
“Whoever I’m playing, I’ll have a battle on my hands that’s for sure,” Konta said. --REUTERS