Williams won with unexpected ease, taking 73 minutes to win 6-4 6-2. As well as the veteran Williams played, this was a big missed opportunity for Konta in her second Grand Slam final.
Jo Konta’s Wimbledon dream was abruptly trampled on by an evergreen performance from Venus Williams today, with the American making the final at the grand old age of 37.
Williams won with unexpected ease, taking 73 minutes to win 6-4 6-2 and earn herself a meeting with Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.
As well as Williams played, this was a big missed opportunity for Konta in her second Grand Slam final, a setting she still did not find herself comfortable in. Two break points went begging at 4-4 in the first set, and the home hope could not recover from that as her opponent visibly relaxed thereafter.
Jo Konta was beaten 6-4 6-3 by a resurgent Venus Williams in the women's semi-final on Centre Court on Thursday afternoon
The veteran American broke at 4-4 in the first set before securing another crucial break of serve at 2-1 in the second set
The British No 1 struggled on her forehand side, making 25 errors on that flank as she lost in surprisingly easy fashion
Williams, 37, deserves credit for the way she has defied her age to be on the verge of a sixth Wimbledon singles title
Williams said: 'I’ve played a lot of finals here. It’s been a blessing. One more win would be amazing. It won't be a given but I’ll give it my all.
'I thought the crowd was very nice to me actually. They could have really been more boisterous. I know they love Jo and she gave it her all. It’s a lot of pressure. I thought she handled it well but my experience just helped a lot .No point was easy. I just tried to climb on top each time to get another point. Then, wow, it was done. I’m so happy.'
Of the final she said: 'We both play really well on the grass. I’ll have to ask Serena for some pointers. I’ve missed her so much before this match. I just wish she was here or could do this for me. I was like, "No, this time I’ll have to do it for myself".'
Konta's forehand, in particular, let her down with 25 errors in all on that flank. A surprising figure was that the American won 65% of points on second serve compared to 33% of Konta’s, which was meant to be a British advantage. At times Konta looked surprised by the quality coming at her from the other end and she did not have the resources to change things around.
This was a hugely disappointing end to a campaign that had seen her eke out three very tight victories, but at the same time Williams deserves saluting for her refusal to buckle against off court problems and her sheer age.
There was always meant to be a Williams in the final, but not this one.
Konta stretches to make a backhand slice during the first set on Centre Court. She failed to take her chances and lost it 6-4
Thirty-seven-year-old Williams is bidding to win her eighth grand slam, and her first on the grass of Wimbledon since 2008
Konta went in buoyed by her 3-2 career record and with the memory of a straight sets win over Williams in Miami back in early April, when she outhit the American, the oldest semi-finalist since Martina Navratilova in 1994 . On that day the Czech-American was beaten by Garbine Muguruza’s coach, Conchita Martinez.
The 37 year-old had marginally the better of the early exchanges, but the theme throughout the first set was the brittleness of the Konta return of serve on the forehand side. At 2-2 and 3-3 she got to 15-30 against Williams, but on both occasions the forehand return let the American back in.
She paid most highly for it at 4-4 when she forced two break points, but again Williams went for the forehand and it paid off, suddenly winning the next four points. That rattled Konta and she played her first really loose game, being comfortably broken and finishing the set with a backhand that went long.
Konta paid for her failure to make the most of her chances during her second Grand Slam semi-final and paid the price
Both players’ clearance of the net was very marginal, and Williams twice was helped by the net cord when she broke for 3-1 in the second.
But it had been a hugely impressive performance from the American, getting her first serves in around 70% of the time and returning aggressively, taking that little extra time away from the British player. A big difference from Konta’s display against Simona Halep was the quality and consistency of her forehand, so improved in recent years.
Normally you would expect Williams to have a letdown these days but she maintained her level admirably, and Konta can probably reflect that she did not have the rub of the green with marginal calls, netcords and the odd bad bounce.
But her failure to break the Williams serve will rankle and she quickly fled the court, although the experience of having gone through a fortnight of such pressure may prove priceless in the long run.
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