Johanna Konta became the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for 39 years on Tuesday, while five-time champion Venus Williams also made history as the oldest semi-finalist since 1994.
Konta thrilled the patriotic Centre Court crowd with a pulsating 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory that ended second seed Simona Halep’s bid to become the new world number one.
In a potentially classic semi-final on Thursday, Konta faces American star Venus.
Williams had her own landmark moment on Centre Court with a 6-3, 7-5 win over French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko that made her the oldest semi-finalist at the All England Club since Martina Navratilova 23 years ago.
Halep’s defeat means Czech Karolina Pliskova, who lost in the Wimbledon second round, will replace Angelique Kerber on top of the WTA rankings.
Konta, 26, is the first Briton since Virginia Wade in 1978 to make the women’s semi-finals.
Wade, the last British woman to win Wimbledon in 1977, was watching from the Royal Box as Konta reached the second Grand Slam semi-final of her career, the other ending in a 2016 Australian Open defeat against Kerber.
“Right now it’s a little bit surreal just because it’s quite incredible how quickly things go in tennis. I’m definitely digesting things a little bit still,” said Konta, who was ranked outside the top 150 two years ago.
“I knew Simona was not going to give me much for free. I had to be the one to create my own chances. I feel fortunate enough that I took a few of them.”—AFP