Kicking off our countdown of the top five Slam matches of 2017 is Johanna Konta's Centre Court marathon win over Donna Vekic.
WTA Staff
November 19, 2017

After counting down the Top 5 matches at WTA events in 2017, our year-end review moves to the best Grand Slam matches of the season!

First up at No.5 is Johanna Konta's thrilling victory over Donna Vekic on Wimbledon's Centre Court.

WHAT HAPPENED: It's a mark of how open this year's Wimbledon was that Johanna Konta, who had never been past the second round of the Championships, was considered one of the top five favorites to lift the title as the tournament started.

The Briton's draw did her no favors, either - but having reversed her shock Roland Garros loss to Hsieh Su-Wei in the first round, the No.6 seed continued her run of revenge with an epic 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-8 victory over Donna Vekic that thrilled the Centre Court crowd.

The Croat had upset Konta just two weeks earlier in the Nottingham final, snatching the Aegon Open title with a 2-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 win - and she carried on where she had left off, notching up the first break to take a 5-3 lead in the first set.

Konta saved two set points and went on to eke out a tiebreak that would be decided by a single minibreak - a margin of victory that mirrored the closeness of the overall contest.

The match would be characterised by mental resilience and resolute serving. Konta notched up 12 aces and won 81% of her first serve points; Vekic wasn't far behind, with 11 aces and a 78% winning percentage behind her first delivery.

In a mark of the match's quality, Konta would strike 55 winners to just 21 unforced errors, while Vekic's stats were almost as impressive - 42 winners and 24 unforced errors.

Read the match report: Konta wins epic against Vekic at Wimbledon

The World No.58 shook off her first set disappointment to break Konta twice to even the score, taking the match into a nail-biting decider that saw 17 consecutive holds, with both players coming up wth clutch play whenever their service was threatened.

As the match ticked over the three-hour mark, there was nothing between them - until, spurred on by the crowd, Konta upped the ferocity on her returns to seize victory.

An emotional embrace at net followed - before Konta turned to soak up the applause for her first taste of Centre Court magic moment. It wouldn't be her last of the fortnight.

WHAT THEY SAID: The Brit, who described Centre Court as "an electric kind of stage to play on," was proud to have been part of such a high-quality affair.

"Definitely one of the most epic matches I have been a part of," Konta told the press afterwards. "Both of us deserved to win...and had to work quite hard for every single point - unless we hit aces, which there were plenty." 

As for the players' hug at the net afterwards, Konta said: "I think after such a battle, you kind of feel both your own and her emotions, because there wasn't much separating us, for example, me being in her position and her being mine… I could easily put myself in her shoes and feel what she was feeling.

"It was more of a sense of kind of congratulating her and us for the battle that we presented on Centre Court, which was, I think, was a great atmosphere to be a part of."

WHAT IT MEANS: It would be an intense Wimbledon fortnight for Konta, who would be named as a favorite to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish two days after this win.

Two more magnificently hard-fought epic victories would follow - 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4 over Caroline Garcia in the fourth round and 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-4 over Simona Halep in the quarterfinals - as the Brit carved her way into the semifinals.

There, the dream of a home winner of Wimbledon ended with a loss to Venus Williams - but Konta had nonetheless seared herself into the public consciousness with her high-octane battles, and would be rewarded with a career high ranking of No.4 following the Championships.

As for Vekic, the quality she displayed in this match was indicative of improved results throughout 2017. Having cracked the Top 100 as a 16-year-old in January 2013, this year saw the Croat break the Top 50 in August - eventually ending the year at No.56 for her best-ever season finish.