Konta delight as she reaches fourth round of French Open for first time

Johanna Konta celebrates winning her third-round match against Viktoria Kuzmova

Johanna Konta produced one of her best grand slam performances to become the first British woman to reach the fourth round of the French Open for 36 years.

Not since Jo Durie in 1992 had any British woman made round three, and Konta’s 6-2 6-1 victory over Viktoria Kuzmova saw her emulate Durie and Anne Hobbs, who both made the last 16 in 1983, with the former going all the way to the semi-finals.

Konta is still some way from matching that, with a clash against Croatia’s Donna Vekic to come first on Sunday, but she was undoubtedly impressive against Kuzmova, wrapping up victory in just 54 minutes. 

Asked if it was her best performance on clay, a surface on which she had had virtually no real success until this year, Konta said: “It was definitely a really good performance, but I’d like to think that I have had just as good or different good performances.

“I was very clear on what I wanted to do out there. Just to be able to do that and come through and make it to the second week here, I’m really pleased with that.”

It was the sixth time Konta has reached the third round of a grand slam, and the sixth time she has won, highlighting that she is an extremely dangerous player when full of confidence.

Johanna Konta

Konta has broken a succession of Durie’s records over the last three years. This was one Durie, who is working here for Eurosport, was happy to see go, saying: “Of course I like holding onto records, but I also like them being broken, this one in particular since it’s been 27 years – it’s long enough.”

“I get reminded or I get my attention brought to these different little milestones, which is definitely a nice pat on the back,” said Konta.

She would have expected to face fourth seed Kiki Bertens, one of the favourites for the title, but the Dutchwoman was forced out by a stomach bug, meaning it was 21-year-old Kuzmova who stood across the net on Roland Garros’ new garden court, Simonne Mathieu.

It was after 7.30pm when the clash began, presenting the threat of the match not being finished on Friday. 

2019 French Open - Day Six

Konta, who has been battling a heavy cold, seemed in no mood to come back on Saturday, winning the first three games of the opening set and then the last three after Kuzmova had briefly threatened to get herself into the match.

The Slovakian is a big hitter who has claimed some notable wins this season to climb to 47 in the rankings but Konta was able to exploit her limitations in movement.

The British player had seen her previous opponent, Lauren Davis, responded well after going a set down but this time there was no let-up from Konta and Kuzmova was simply unable to find any real resistance.

Konta is not quite back to full health but certainly sounded a lot better than after the Davis match, and she said: “I think today is the most human I have felt the last few days, so I’m definitely seeing the light, which is nice.”

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