Johanna Konta (left) had never won a main-draw singles match at Roland Garros until this year
2019 French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 26 May-9 June
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

British number one Johanna Konta continued her charge through the French Open by impressively beating Croatian 23rd seed Donna Vekic to reach the quarter-finals.

Konta, seeded 26th, won 6-2 6-4 in baking conditions at Roland Garros.

She is hoping to emulate Jo Durie and become the first British woman to reach the semi-finals since 1983.

The 28-year-old will play 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza or Sloane Stephens – last year’s runner-up – next.

Spanish 19th seed Muguruza and American seventh seed Stephens meet on Court Philippe Chatrier later on Sunday.

“To be able to win a match like this against a tough opponent is a great feeling. I felt I played well throughout the match,” said Konta after reaching her first Grand Slam quarter-final since Wimbledon in 2017.

“To win like that in front of a crowd like that gives you goosebumps.”

Konta is enjoying a superb clay-court season, reaching WTA finals in Morocco and Rome, and has continued to build on that form in Paris with some assured performances.

She wrapped up victory over Vekic on the first of her three match points when the Croat hit long.

Konta’s clay-court joy continues

Konta had never won a main-draw match at Roland Garros before this year and appears to be reaping the rewards of her work with coach Dimitri Zavialoff, whom she employed at the end of last year.

She is trusting her ability on a surface where she has had little previous success and against Vekic, this was again evident.

Konta produced 33 winners and seven aces on her way to victory, improving her tallies in these areas from each of her previous three matches.

Former world number four Konta was rarely flustered against Vekic, who she memorably beat in a three-set thriller on her way to the Wimbledon semi-finals two years ago.

After bouncing straight back from losing her opening service game, the Briton broke again for a 5-2 lead and kept a measure of calm to see off four break points before sealing the set with an ace down the middle.

Serve ruled at the start of the second set – with only eight receiving points won in the opening six games – before Konta struck first for a 4-3 advantage.

For the first time she wobbled as three unforced errors handed the break straight back, but she managed to reset again in the next game.

Two whopping forehands, which dusted the baseline, set the tone, forcing Vekic into a panicked backhand volley wide that brought up three break points for the Briton.

Vekic saved two of them, only for Konta to take the third when she pulled off an outrageous backhand drop shot from the back of the court.

Konta took her first match point when she expertly judged a Vekic return was going long, breaking out into a broad smile and raising both arms skywards in celebration.

“I was definitely pleased with how I was playing and the kind of problem-solving I was doing out there. I felt I was being very effective,” Konta said.

“I thought I had very few drops in my level, which I think definitely kept the pressure on her and in trying to find a solution.

“I was able to identify where I was getting points and what was making her feel uncomfortable on court. I thought I played into the open spaces quite well and was able to find opportunities to do that.”

Quarter-finals full of new faces

Konta is not alone in being a quarter-final debutant at this year’s French Open.

Croatian 31st seed Petra Martic and Czech 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova are both in the last eight at Roland Garros for the first time and one of them will be Konta’s semi-final opponent if she is victorious in the next round.

Neither player has made it to a Grand Slam quarter-final before, but Martic reached this stage after beating Kaia Kanepi 5-7 6-2 6-4, while Vondrousova came through after a 6-2 6-0 win against 12th seed Anastasija Sevastova.


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

Tennis can sometimes be a very simple game.

Fuelled by confidence, and playing with the utmost fluency, Johanna Konta looked in little doubt that a quarter-final spot was hers for the taking.

Konta arrived in the Moroccan capital Rabat at the end of April with some fine Fed Cup wins for GB under her belt, but a very sketchy career record on clay.

She saved three match points in the first round there, and has not looked back.

The win over Vekic was Konta’s 14th in four tournaments, and she has nothing to fear – whichever Grand Slam champion awaits in the last eight on Tuesday.

Salisbury in doubles quarter-finals

Konta was not the only Briton in action at Roland Garros, as Joe Salisbury made it to the men’s doubles quarter-finals alongside American Rajeev Ram.

The 11th seeds came back from a set down to beat eighth seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

Salisbury and Ram will face unseeded French pair Fabrice Martin and Jeremy Chardy – who was beaten by British number one Kyle Edmund in the first round of the singles – in the last eight.

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