Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko continued her resurgence at the Nature Valley Classic with another dominant display against British No.1 Johanna Konta to reach the last eight.
David Kane
June 19, 2019

BIRMINGHAM, Great Britain - 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko continued her resurgent week at the Nature Valley Classic with another emphatic win on grass, scoring her first Top 20 win of the year to beat, British No.1 and recent Roland Garros semifinalist Johanna Konta, 6-3, 6-4.

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"It was a good match from my side," she said in her post-match press conference. "I had nothing to lose because Jo is in great form right now and she made the semis at Roland Garros. She is a very good player on grass. So I came into the match without any expectations, but I tried to play my game and be more aggressive.

"I think that helped me to win today to be more aggressive, so I didn't really give her time to play her game."

A former Top 5 player, the Latvian began 2019 with injuries and had only won back-to-back matches once all season - falling in the first round of the French Open to former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka. Back on grass, where she reached the Wimbledon semifinals last summer, she backed up a decisive win over Polish teenager Iga Swiatek with a 79 minute victory over Konta on Ann Jones Centre Court.

"For me, I was struggling this season with injury, but I'm really happy. It's actually the second time this year I won two matches in a row!" she said, laughing during her on-court interview.

Konta has been in the midst of her own career renaissance after reaching the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final ahead of her run into the last four in Paris, and had not only won her most recent meeting with Ostapenko at last summer's Coupe Rogers in Montréal, but also won their only grass court meeting at the 2017 Nature Valley International in Eastbourne.

Still, it was the 2014 junior Wimbledon winner - who dropped just two games against Swiatek - who raced out to a 3-0 lead, clipping lines with a vastly improved serve to take the opening set behind one break of serve and 10 winners to just three from the Brit.

"It's very hard to move on grass and if you hit the ball hard, it's harder for the opponent to hit the ball back because it's coming much faster than on the other surfaces, and the bounce is much lower, so I'm just trying to be even more aggressive and if I have a chance, I just got for the shots."

The second set appeared on course for a similar result when the youngster broke Konta and took a 3-1 lead, but it was the former World No.4 who struck back, leveling the set as Ostapenko's serve faltered.

Undaunted, Ostapenko broke straight back and consolidated with another line-clipping serve and secured victory two games later with a total of 23 winners to 24 unforced errors.

"I understand if I play well, I can win many matches, and it was just the matter of the time. I was injured last season so I couldn't do the pre-season properly and that took away my confidence, of course. I understand if I'm going to try to play without any thoughts and work hard in the practice I will be back because I have the game to play well."

Konta, by contrast, managed just six total winners against the ever-aggressive Ostapenko, and was undone by 18 total unforced errors and a one-for-eight break point conversion rate.

Awaiting Ostapenko in the quarterfinals will be French Open quarterfinalist Petra Martic, who ended Margarita Gasparyan's run earlier in the day.

"I'm still a fighter. I fight almost every match. There were matches that I lost, but I was still fighting until the last point. It is, as I said, about confidence and consistency, but I'm trying to enjoy more tennis now and try to not think too much."