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Defending champ Konta knocked out by Venus

Three-time Miami Open champion Venus Williams knocked out last year’s winner Johanna Konta in a grinding, three-set battle to return to the quarterfinals.

After dropping a gruelling first set, Venus recovered emphatically to cruise to a 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory in two hours and 21 minutes.

“The first set was definitely all her, and she came up with some amazing shots to break me at 5-5,” Venus said in her on-court interview. “There was not much I could do there, except just hope I could keep up in the second and third sets.”

Coming off of a lengthy, three-set battle in her last match – which saw her have to save three match points against Kiki Bertens – Venus understandably started her clash against Konta looking a bit sluggish. She went down a break in the opening game as Konta built up a 2-0 lead.

The Former World No.1 held her own in a marathon game to dodge four more break points and get on the board at 2-1, and Venus finally broke through at 3-3 to level the score. She kept her momentum going and even brought up the first set points at 5-4, but Konta held on to deny Venus. The Brit edged through a few games later, breaking at 6-5 and serving out the opening set.

It was a different story in the second set as Venus raised her level just as Konta seemed to struggle physically. The Brit recorded just one winner in the one-sided second sets – by contrast, she struck 16 winners in the first set and had totalled 50 winners across her first two matches. Venus broke twice, reeling off six of seven games to send the match into a deciding set.

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The defending champion put up more resistance in the third; Venus started off with a break and 2-0, but Konta kept her under lots pressure as the first four games all went to break point. Konta fired off three aces in a row to get on board, then broke back at 2-2 to restore parity.

It was short-lived, however, as Venus roared to life again and reeled off two breaks in a row to take the next four games and close out the set, taking the match after two hours and 21 minutes.

The victory is Venus’ 64th Miami Open win, a run which dates back to her very first appearance at the tournament 20 years ago in 1997 and includes three titles – in 1998, 1999 and 2001.

Up next, Venus will take on either Miami local Monica Puig or the on-fire American qualifier Danielle Collins for a spot in the semi-finals.

WTA Tennis