Johanna Konta continued her miraculous 2016 by claiming a maiden WTA title in Stanford after beating former world number one Venus Williams in three sets. The 25-year-old moves to a career best world number 14 after prevailing 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 at the Bank of West Classic.
The Australian Open semi-finalist was playing in her first career final but was not overawed by three-time winner Williams, 36, and joins Heather Watson in becoming the latest British winner on the women's tour. Konta won the final two games of the first set to take an early lead, but despite leading 4-1 in the second the seven-time grand slam champion hit back to level the match.
But an early break in the decider allowed Konta to pull clear again and backed up by 11 aces during the match eventually outlasted Williams, appearing in her 80th career final, in the searing Stanford heat. Victory caps a remarkable 13 months for the Sydney-born player, who was ranked 147th last June but is now among the premier players in the sport.
"I wanted to leave it all out there, but also absorb everything that I could possibly reinvest in my career moving forward," she said. "I've played her twice before and knew I'd be playing a magnitude of experience. Venus Williams doesn't need an introduction.
"Quite honestly, you'd expect nothing less from a champion. They don't give away any match, much less a final. It was her 80th, so you could only imagine the number of different situations that she's already been in.
"It was about keeping things in perspective, and understanding there'd be ebbs and flows in the match. Every single point was a battle, and I tried to win as many battles as possible. The simpler you keep things, the more clarity you have, and the less dumb you play!"