STANFORD — Johanna Konta seems to have Venus Williams’ number: She beat the former champion for the second-straight match on Sunday, when she claimed her first WTA title.
The 25-year-old from Great Britain outlasted Williams, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 win, in the final of the Bank of the West Classic.
“It’s actually quite an incredibly humbling experience,” Konta said. “Venus Williams doesn’t need an introduction.”
Similar to their previous match in January, Konta overpowered Williams with her big serve and forehand combination.
“She served really well today,” Williams said after the match. “She plays really well against me. Maybe she comes out and doesn’t feel any pressure.”
After taking the first set, Konta broke Williams’ serve at love twice in a row to take a 4-1 lead in the second, and looked to be in total control of the match. The only problem: Venus Williams was on the other side of the net.
“I knew going into it that I was going to be playing against a magnitude of experience,” Konta said.
With the boisterous energy of the 2,268 in attendance behind her, Williams rallied for wins in four straight games, and six of seven, to force a third set.
“You’d expect nothing less from a great champion,” Konta said.
Venus started the third set the same as the first two, by holding serve for a 1-0 lead. From there, though, Konta ran away with the match, breaking Williams’ serve twice en route to winning six of the final seven games.
Knowing that the crowd was overwhelmingly hoping to see Williams win her 50th career title in the event where she debuted 22 years ago, Konta was gracious and had a great sense of humor after the match.
“I know I’m not the winner you wanted,” she told the crowd to laughs and cheers. “But thank you so much.”
With the win, Konta is projected to jump from No. 18 in the WTA Rankings to No. 14, continuing an already impressive 2016 season that has seen her rise from No. 47 at the end of 2015.
In the doubles final, UC Berkeley grad Raquel Atawo and her longtime partner Abigail Spears won their second Bank of the West title.
After one more tune up in Montreal this coming week, both Konta and Williams will be heading to Rio to represent their respective countries in the Summer Olympics.