WTA Birmingham: Coco Vandeweghe crushes Johanna Konta

Coco Vandeweghe put in one of her best performances of the season on Thursday as she demolished fourth seed Johanna Konta 6-1, 6-4 in just over an hour to reach the quarterfinals of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.

Vandeweghe, who lost early last week, was always going to provide a huge test for the Brit, who was playing in front of her home crowd and had reached the final in Nottingham last week, though the American was simply brilliant on both serve and return games, not facing a break point and breaking three times to seal an impressive victory.

The nature of her performance, hitting 20 winners and just ten unforced errors, was particularly impressive by Vandeweghe considering it was her first match with former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash in her coaching box after the two started working together last week. Vandeweghe will face Garbine Muguruza in the last eight.

Vandeweghe storms to the opening set

Vandeweghe suffered a slight setback last week at the Ricoh Open, falling in the first round to Carina Witthoeft after winning the title the previous year, though in front of her new coach she showed no sign of disappointment as she stormed to the first set, losing just three points on serve.

Johanna Konta did not have any success in her return games today (Getty/Julian Finney)
Johanna Konta did not have any success in her return games today (Getty/Julian Finney)

The American got off to a good start with a very quick hold and then saved a game point to immediately go a break up in the opener. Vandeweghe continued to dominate proceedings after that, once again holding emphatically and easing to the insurance break, eventually building up a 5-0 lead early on.

Having not won a game in the opening 20 minutes, it looked that Konta would be bageled in the opening set when she fell 15-30 down, though some big serving, and some encouragement from her home crowd, saw the Brit finally get herself on the board. It was, however, too little too late in terms of the first set, with Vandeweghe holding comfortably once again to go a set up.

Unseeded American stays strong to reach the quarterfinals

After a dismal first set, in which she made 12 unforced errors compared to just one winner, Konta called on coach Wim Fissette, and there were signs early on that the on-court coaching had helped the fourth seed early on in the first set, though it eventually proved to have little effect as Vandeweghe just proved too strong.

Coco Vandeweghe celebrates her impressive victory (Getty/Julian Finney)
Coco Vandeweghe celebrates her impressive victory (Getty/Julian Finney)

The Brit held her opening game of the set to put herself in front and continued to edge herself in front by holding a tough second game and her third game, but she could do absolutely nothing on Vandeweghe’s serve, with the American serving well and making barely any mistakes to continue to keep the pressure on Konta.

The pressure on Konta showed at 3-3, where she was able to save a first break point with an ace but then could not save another as Vandeweghe put away a poor drop shot by the Brit. Once again the American was imperious on serve, holding to love in seemingly the blink of an eye. After that, it seemed that all the fight in Konta had gone, with a dominant return on match point seeing the American safely make the last eight.