Great Britain’s Johanna Konta continued with her excellent form to enter the Italian Open semi-final. Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova also made it to the last-four stage with a win over Victoria Azarenka.
It has been an excellent season for Konta on clay following on from how she has usually struggled on this surface before this. Over the last three years before this, she had a win-loss record of 7-12 on clay but this season, Konta is in her third season and already made the final at one, at Rabat, and has now qualified for the semi-finals at the Italian Open here.
In the process, she has beaten some big names including Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams in this tournament and now overcome Marketa Vondousova in the quarter-final to make it as far as she has here. She was a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 winner over Vondousova and will now take on Kiki Bertens, the sixth seed.
Bertens got a walkover from Naomi Osaka who had to withdraw from the competition because of a thumb problem.
In another quarter-final, Pliskova improved her record to 25-7 this season with a gritty, three-set win over Victoria Azarenka. She came through 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 to set up a meeting with the winner of the match between Maria Sakkari and Kristina Mladenovic.
Pliskova, who had a first round bye, had earlier overcome Ajla Tomljanovic and Sofia Kenin in straight sets to enter the last-eight. The Czech world number seven had had a good start to the year, especially with the title at Brisbane, a semi-final in the Australian Open and a runner-up in Miami but fitness concerns looked to have take toll of her at the beginning of the clay season.