Nottingham 2018: Konta, Watson and Evans headline sold-out finals at Nature Valley Open

Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Dan Evans headline the sold-out finals at the Nature Valley Open

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images for the LTA

A sold-out Sunday at Nottingham’s Nature Valley Open will see home interests represented in each final as British No1 Johanna Konta, 2016 Wimbledon mixed doubles champion Heather Watson, and Dan Evans all in action on Centre Court.

Last year’s runner-up Konta avenged her defeat at the Nottingham Tennis Centre against defending champion Donna Vekic, 6-2, 6-3, on Saturday, setting up a contest for the Elena Baltacha Trophy with Australian top seed Ashleigh Barty, who beat World No18 Naomi Osaka, 6-3, 6-4.

World No22 Konta breezed through the first set in half an hour before her Croatian opponent took a medical time-out for a lower back complaint, which was then followed by an hour-long rain delay. But Konta broke the sixth seed’s serve three times in the second set to reach her first final in 12 months.

The 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist said:

“The match had a bit of everything. It was a challenging match for a number of different reasons. But that is also part of the sport. It was just about, from my end, dealing with it the best I can and keep the attention on the work at hand.

“Obviously, in an ideal world, we don’t have that rain delay. However, it could have easily shifted the momentum the other way without the delay. You’ve always got to work with the circumstances that are thrown at you and I think I managed everything quite well.”

Ahead of her WTA International clash with World No17 Barty, whom she beat in straight sets in the East Midlands quarter-finals last year, Konta said:

“She’s a very talented, very crafty player. She loves this surface, she’s very vocal about loving this surface. I am sure she is going to be playing her best tennis.”

The 27-year-old added:

“She’s improved a lot and is playing very well over the last year since she’s come back and getting better and better.”

Earlier on Saturday, Watson and Romanian partner Mihaela Buzarnescu booked their place in the women’s doubles final with a 7-5, 6-1 win over American Irina Falconi and Lizette Cabrera of Australia. The pair will battle third-seeded Alicja Rosolska of Poland and Abigail Spears.

Elsewhere, second-seed Australian teenager Alex de Minaur eased past Belarusian fourth seed Ilya Ivashka, 6-2, 6-4, in the ATP Challenger event to set up a Sunday showdown with Briton Evans.

Live coverage of the women’s singles final will be broadcast on Eurosport 1 from 3pm, while the men’s final will be streamed live on the ATP Challenger website here: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/nottingham-2018-sf-promo.

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