Venus ends kont’s run, Muguruza through

Beijing, October 1

Grand slam finalists Garbine Muguruza and Roberta Vinci stormed into the last four of the Wuhan Open in China on Thursday while Venus Williams ended the giant-killing run of Briton Johanna Konta.

Konta had accounted for world No 2 Simona Halep, 13th seed Andrea Petkovic and benefited from former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka retiring from their second-round clash but seven-time grand slam champion Williams proved too strong. The 24-year-old Sydney-born Konta, ranked 66th in the world, seemed on course for victory when she served for the match at 5-3 in the third set.

The American, however, broke serve before reeling off the next three games to wrap up a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win. The 35-year-old former world No 1 Venus’ reward for coming through the slug fest on the blue hardcourts of Wuhan is a clash with Italian Vinci who knocked out Czech Karolina Pliskova 7-6(2), 6-3.

Vinci, who ended the calendar grand slam ambitions of Venus’ sister Serena Williams at the US Open semi-finals last month, was delighted to follow up her upset win over third seed Petra Kvitova in the previous round. “Today was another tough match.

Karolina plays so good, and so flat, so for me it was difficult especially at the beginning,” said the 32-year-old who lost the US Open final to compatriot Flavia Pennetta. “But I served well and I’m really happy I’m in the semi-finals here in Wuhan for the first time. It’s incredible here, a nice city, nice court, it’s just really exciting for me.”

Wimbledon runner-up Muguruza had a far easier afternoon as she swept past Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-2. The heavy-hitting 21-year-old Spaniard can go as high as world No 4 depending on results this week but her focus was simply on her form.

“It was a great match for me,” she said. “You don’t play at this level every day so for me it was great to be playing like this.” Muguruza next plays German sixth seed Angelique Kerber or American Coco Vandeweghe.