This summer in Montréal, Konta had the chance to reach the Top 10 only to slip to a surprise defeat at the hands of World No.121 Kristina Kucova. However, this time she rose to the occasion magnificently, withstanding a mid-match comeback from Keys to complete a 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-4 win.
"I'm definitely enjoying my time here. It's my first time in Beijing and I hope to play many more times here. It's an amazing atmosphere, such a beautiful stadium, it's a real pleasure to play here," Konta said in her on-court interview.
Keys had produced one of the performances of her career 24 hours earlier to defeat Petra Kvitova, but failed to scale those heights against Konta, committing 47 unforced errors in their two and a half hours on court. Nevertheless, she still had her chances and looked to be headed for victory when she skipped around a return to break in the first game of the deciding set.
Instead it was Konta that took charge, drawing level immediately and threatening further breaks. Keys' serve bailed her out on several occasions, but she finally buckled at 5-4 to send Konta into her first Premier Mandatory final.
"I don't really think there was a secret [to winning]," Konta added. "She's such a high-quality player, has such a weight of shot -I'm pretty sure I was cleaning the back of the court there! I just tried to run down as many balls as I could and tried to take the chances I got."
Konta can now look forward to a meeting against 2011 Beijing champion Agnieszka Radwanska.
"It's really special. As I said I'm just enjoying being here and trying to prolong it as long as possible and I feel very blessed to be coming back tomorrow for the final."
On Monday she will also become the 121st different player to reach the Top 10 since the WTA Rankings were introduced on November 3, 1975. She is the fourth Briton to achieve the feat, following in the footsteps of Virginia Wade, Sue Barker and, most recently, Jo Durie (August, 1984).