Top seed Ashleigh Barty held off a comeback from No.4 seed Johanna Konta to win her first title of the season on the grass courts of Nottingham.
WTA Staff
June 17, 2018

NOTTINGHAM, Great Britain - Top seed Ashleigh Barty captured the second WTA singles title of her career at the Nature Valley Open on Sunday, defeating home favorite and No.4 seed Johanna Konta in the final, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. 

The win is Barty's second career WTA title, having triumphed last year at the Malaysia Open in Kuala Lumpur. The Aussie had lost her last three singles finals, and nearly saw Konta rally to create parity twice before closing out the match in two hours and five minutes.

The World No.17 flipped the result of last year's quarterfinal match in Nottingham, which was won by Konta in straight sets as she made a run to the final for the first time.

"I felt great today - coming into a final, the adrenaline gets you going, but I feel like I’ve been playing well all week," Barty told press. "It’s been building and building and getting better and better each match.

"I knew that Jo was going to be the toughest test this week, so I’m just really glad that I came through that and it was a really high quality match. And it was a really good grass court match too, in the sense that it was a bit serve-dominant at times.

"Jo was a Wimbledon semifinalist and she was a finalist here last year. She’s obviously very comfortable on this surface. I think it was the cherry on top for me to make it to the final and make it to the weekend."

Saving the first five break points she faced in the match, Barty looked on course to record her fifth straight sets victory in as many matches this week, only to see Konta make a late push to force a decider.

The British No.1 saved a pair of break points in the seventh game of the second set which would've given Barty firm control of the match, and won the last three games to force a final set.

In the final set, Barty opened up a 4-1 lead only to see Konta draw level at 4-4, but after toughing out a marathon service game, the top seed won the last five points of the match to seal victory. 

Johanna Konta and Ashleigh Barty, Nottingham 2018 (Getty)

"For me, Nottingham brings back very good memories of back when it was an ITF 50K tournament, not even WTA yet," Barty said. "I have really fond memories of it and always feel like I’ve played well here. To come away with the trophy again is really exciting."

Konta was looking to make some recent British WTA history in her second career final in Nottingham, as the last British player to win a WTA singles title at home was Sue Barker in Brighton, on carpet in 1981. 

The last British player to win a singles title at home on grass was Virginia Wade in Eastbourne in 1975.

The British No.1 said: "I’m a little bit sad that I couldn’t come through with the win today, but I’m taking a lot of positives from the week in general."