US Open: Johanna Konta beats Karolina Pliskova; Ashleigh Barty knocked out

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta pulled off one of the biggest wins of her career by beating third seed Karolina Pliskova to reach the quarter-finals of the US Open.

The British number one dropped the first set on a tie-break but battled back to win 6-7 (1), 6-3, 7-5.

In doing so Konta became the first British woman to reach the last eight at Flushing Meadows since Jo Durie in 1983.

Konta had lost six of her previous seven matches with Pliskova, including twice on her home turf of Eastbourne, as well as in Nottingham and Birmingham.

None of those defeats will matter now with Konta continuing her fine season in the grand slams with a third successive appearance in a quarter-final.

It was a see-saw of a match, Konta holding two points for a double break in the first set, only to be pegged back and blown away in the tie-break.

Down a break in the second, a hold to love stopped the bleeding before three break points were engineered. Eight points in a row brought Konta level at 3-3 and another break had Pliskova suddenly feeling the heat.

At 5-3 two break points were saved, the first with a sensational forehand down the line, the second with a meaty volley, and when the Czech went long Konta levelled the match.

In a nip-and-tuck final set, Konta produced a gutsy hold to love for 5-5, and then broke to 15 to serve for the match.

One match point came and went, but when the second arrived and Pliskova's return floated out, Konta raised her arms in celebration.

"The key was to just keep going," she said. "You know with Karolina there will be massive portions of the match where I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm pleased to have played a great match.

"I've been in this position twice before here, so to go one step further is a massive achievement for me. Now I'm hoping to go two or three steps further."

Konta will face Elina Svitolina in the last eight.

Ukrainian Svitolina said: "It's going to be another great battle, we always have tough matches. It's going to be another challenge which I will accept."

Barty crashes out

World number two Ashleigh Barty suffered a shock defeat in the fourth round.

The Australian, who won the French Open earlier this year, was beaten in straight sets by Wang Qiang, the 18th seed from China.

Wang Qiang
Wang Qiang

Below-par Barty was broken twice in the first set and saved two match points on serve in the second.

She had a chance to break back but the hugely impressive Wang, playing in the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time, held her nerve.

A fourth match point saw the 27-year-old over the line and into the quarter-finals.

"'Q' was very good, very solid," said Barty. "I felt like she was able to put the ball with great depth in difficult positions for me.

"I still was able to create opportunities, it was just very frustrating that on the big points today, she played a lot better.

"I mean I had nine break points, and I wasn't able to even get one of them, which is really frustrating.

"But it's been a great season in grand slams, making the second week in every single one, which has been really special.

"Now we'll sit back, reflect, and look forward to a big couple months to finish off the year."

Williams safely through

Wang will face 23-time grand slam winner Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.

The American recovered from losing her opening service game to beat Petra Martic of Croatia 6-3 6-4.

Williams suffered an injury scare when she hurt her ankle and required a medical time-out.

She said: "I just rolled it, I don't know why. I was volleying and it went over so I just wanted to get it compressed really fast.

"It affected me a little mentally because I've had a tough year with injuries."

Elina Svitolina, the fifth seed from Ukraine, dashed home hopes when she beat American 10th seed and former finalist Madison Keys 7-5 6-4.

Svitolina said: "It was really good serving from me, I was feeling good with my footwork as well. It was really special playing in this atmosphere.

"I'm playing quite solid. I'm just trying to take one match at a time and stay relaxed. Hopefully we can go far in the draw."

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