Italian Open: Johanna Konta faces Karolina Pliskova in final after beating Kiki Bertens

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta is currently projected to rise to number 26 in the world rankings

British number one Johanna Konta came from a set down against Kiki Bertens to reach the final of the Italian Open.

Konta - who will be seeded at the French Open later this month - beat Dutch sixth seed Bertens 5-7 7-5 6-2 in two hours 49 minutes in Rome.

The 28-year-old will play world number seven Karolina Pliskova, who beat Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-4 6-4.

Konta is the first British woman to reach the Italian Open final since Virginia Wade in 1971.

Victory over world number four Bertens marked her first over a top-five opponent since defeating Simona Halep at Wimbledon in 2017.

Both players lost serve twice in the first set before Bertens was able to take the early advantage, breaking world number 42 Konta at set point.

The first two games of the second set went against serve but Konta was able to capitalise on a break at 5-5 to level the match.

Konta dominated the deciding set, breaking Bertens' serve twice, though she needed four match points to seal the win, having made three unforced errors at 40-0 in the final game.

The Briton lost her first clay-court final to Sakkari at the Morocco Open this month and will now play her maiden Premier WTA event final on the surface.

Sakkari had beaten Pliskova in last year's event but converted only one break point opportunity as she slipped to defeat in an hour and 28 minutes.

Pliskova, winner of 12 WTA titles to Konta's three, has won five of the pair's six completed matches, though the Briton won their most recent match, which came on the hard courts of Beijing in 2016.


Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent:

Konta's game has been on an upward curve all season.

She has excelled wearing British colours in the Fed Cup, but had not cashed in on tour - until the clay court season got underway.

Konta has always believed she can be successful on the surface, but until this year results had not borne her out.

Her movement looks much improved, as does her drop shot - which is such a handy trick to have up your sleeve on clay.

Not only will Konta now be seeded for Roland Garros, but she has also put herself in a very good position to be a seed at Wimbledon, too.

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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