JOHANNA KONTA’S hopes of reaching a first grand slam final were ended by a straight-sets loss to Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova at the French Open.
This appeared a golden chance for Konta to become the first British woman to win a slam singles title since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977, but she let winning positions in both sets slip away and went down 7-5 7-6 (2).
In the end it was 19-year-old Vondrousova who showed the greater composure, coming back from 5-3 down in both sets.
Under coach Dimitri Zavialoff, Konta has regained the mental composure that was so striking when she hit a high of fourth in the rankings two years ago.
Underneath, though, the 28-year-old is of a nervous disposition and it was not surprising that it was bubbling to the surface on this high-pressure occasion.
Ultimately Konta was unable to convert three first-set points and paid the price.
‘It is always tough to lose a match, any match, and always tough to lose matches where you have opportunities and chances,’ said Konta afterwards.
‘But I feel very comfortable and assured that I did the best I could out there.
‘It’s hard to lose any match like this but my opponent played well and I’m proud of how I played.’
Vondrousova plays Australian Ashleigh Barty in Saturday’s final.