The scene was set for the second Ladies semi-final at this year’s Wimbledon Championships.
The opponents – the 26 year old Johanna Konta of Britain, the sixth seed and home favourite and the 37 year old, 10th seed and five-time Wimbledon champion, Venus Williams of the USA.
Konta led the players on to the court. She looked relaxed, waved and smiled as she savoured the home crowd’s welcome. Williams was hot on her heels, focused, no smiles and no acknowledgement. She knew she was the underdog today, but she was ready for the challenge.
Going into the match, Konta led the Head2Head by 3-2, with each of them having won an encounter this year. On paper though, there was not much separating the two players.
After watching Konta pull out all the stops against Halep on Tuesday, I was wondering how much was still left in her tank and whether she would be able to repeat that performance against Williams today.
So the match got underway and the first set went according to serve. Venus drew first blood, breaking Konta’s serve in the tenth game to clinch the set.
Enter the second set, and Venus’ focus was something to behold as she didn’t give Konta room for error. It seemed as though all the hype was becoming too much as the British player dropped two service games to send Williams into her nineth Wimbledon final. The final score was 6-4 6-2.
It wasn’t all plain sailing as Williams needed three match points on the Konta serve to close it out. Each time Williams was in trouble, she would body serve Konta, catching her off guard. Two of her body serves, on her second serve, clocked in at 103 mph and 106 mph respectively.
Williams, who is known to stand well within the baseline when her opponent is about to take a second serve, did not exercise that today, testimony to the increased level of tennis that Konta has been playing.
After the match had been concluded, Konta, who was bitterly disappointed, did not follow “custom” by waiting for Venus to accompany her off the court.
This did not seem to bother Williams, who headed off to the locker room with a big smile on her face.
During the post-match interview, Konta had heaps of praise for her opponent.
Williams, always softly spoken, was elated by her form so far this year and is hoping to take it one step further on Saturday. She hinted that she would be getting some advice from younger sister, Serena on how to approach the final and her opponent.