Konta into Miami semis after Halep battle

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Fognini stuns Nishikori

Miami

Britain’s Johanna Konta fought back from a set down to beat Romania’s Simon Halep 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 on Wednesday and claim a spot in the Miami Open semi-finals.
The victory over the third-seeded Halep means Konta becomes the first British woman to reach the last four at Miami and she will face the winner of Wednesday’s other quarter-final between Venus Williams and German world number one Angelique Kerber.
“I’m really happy that I’ve come through and I am just looking forward to my next round – it’s going to be a tough one,” said Konta.
Halep settled well in the opening set, with her powerful forehand dominant, but Konta fought back well in the second.
The Australia-born Konta broke early to establish a 3-0 lead but the gritty Romanian clawed her way back winning the next three games while her opponent failed to make the most of her openings in what was an error-strewn contest.
Nonethless Konta stuck at her task and was able to break again when Halep was serving for the match and force a tie-break which she eventually won 9-7 to take the pair into the third game.
There was a tense discussion between Halep and her Australian coach Darren Cahill.
Konta broke in the fifth game of the deciding set and visibly growing in confidence she broke again to take a 5-2 lead and serve out for the match.
The 25-year-old’s Belgian coach, Wim Fissette, previously worked with Halep and helped with Konta’s strategy.
“I think we had a good game plan going into the match. Also, I had played her once previously, so I think that was also helpful for me, just so that I have felt her ball before,” she said.
“But otherwise, it was also a little bit thinking on my feet as well. Certain things that can change within a match, regardless of the game plan. I think I did a good job of just adapting, yeah, and fighting,” she said.
Meanwhile, un-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini secured a huge upset victory over fourth seed Kei Nishikori in the Miami Open quarter-finals on Wednesday. Not many would have given Fognini much of a chance on the day. Nishikori had won both of their last encounters, and is ranked a full 36 places higher. But Fognini didn’t just win the contest, he dominated it, racing to a 6-4, 6-2 victory in just 68 minutes.
An early break quickly saw him open up a 3-1 lead, and though Nishikori regained the lost break a few games later, he immediately relinquished it again to hand his opponent the first set. Things did not get any better for Nishikori in the second set either. Fognini again broke early for a 3-0 lead, and backed that up with another break a few games later to race to a 5-1 lead and leave his opponent floundering.—AFP

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