It is widely known that Venus Williams is Konta’s idol, and so the match was much anticipated once the draw was made last week, and Konta did not disappoint, defeating the 35-year-old with a sublime performance.
Venus, with her thigh heavily strapped, appeared to struggle throughout the match, but Konta did not lose her focus and took care of a dangerous opponent. Speaking to the BBC afterwards, she said “Even if she’s playing with one leg out there, you’ve got to really take care of things on your own because she’s an incredible player.”
And take care of things she did, with five aces and 19 winners, breaking the American’s serve five times throughout the course of the match.
The result is a stark contrast to the players’ first meeting last year in Wuhan, where Konta was up a break 5-3 in the deciding set but lost four games on the trot to concede the match.
With Venus out of the way, Konta’s draw has opened up somewhat: she now faces world #85 Saisai Zheng of China before a potential third round clash with Sabine Lisicki of Germany. Konta defeated Zheng in their only previous meeting at Roland Garros in 2013 in the first round of qualifying, and will hope to enact a similar fate on the Chinese in two days’ time.