Konta ends Bertens' winning streak to clinch final berth in Rome

Konta ends Bertens' winning streak to clinch final berth in Rome

The Brit is looking for her first title since hoisting the Miami Open trophy 2017.

A day after celebrating her 28th birthday, Johanna Konta moved into the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by upsetting No. 6-seeded Kiki Bertens, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.

Konta had the chance to serve for the opening set, but Bertens rallied to close it out. The same opportunity arose for the Brit in the second, but this time she came through, winning nine of the last 11 games.

"I'm very pleased to be in the final here. It's my second biggest final behind Miami," Kona said. "That's a big achievement in my career so far. I'm definitely very conscious and appreciative of this opportunity, of this situation."

Fresh off her Madrid victory, Bertens had reached the match via walkover after top-seeded Naomi Osaka withdrew from the tournament on Thursday with a thumb injury. The Dutchwoman was looking for her 10th career WTA title. Despite today's loss, she's still considered one of the leading favorites to win the French Open. If she does, it will be her maiden Slam.

Meanwhile, Konta is showing she’s back in stellar form. She had ousted Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams in the second and third-round matches, respectively—she played both matches on Thursday due to Wednesday’s washout. On Friday, she prevailed over Marketa Vondrousova.

Earlier this month, the newly minted 28-yer-old reached the Rabat final—her first career clay-court final—falling to Maria Sakkari in three sets. Before entering Rabat, the Briton had never won more than two consecutive WTA clay-court matches in a main draw.

Currently ranked No. 42, Konta will see her ranking rise on Monday, enough to be seeded at the French Open. After four main-draw tries, she's never gone past the first round at Roland Garros. Now that she's found her footing on clay, and given her current form, she should be able to go deep.

"I've never really doubted my ability on the surface. I don't necessarily feel like this is massively out of the blue or super wow. I'm definitely pleased," Konta said.

She has reached two Grand Slam semifinals—in the 2016 Australian Open and 2017 Wimbledon.

Aiming for her fourth career WTA title, she will play No. 4-seeded Karolina Pliskova or Maria Sakkari on Sunday. Konta has beaten the Czech only once in seven tries, and is 1-1 in her head-to-head series against the Greek.