Elina Svitolina made history today after defeating Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-4 to become the first Ukrainian woman to reach a US Open semifinal. The fifth seed reached her first Grand Slam semifinal this year at Wimbledon and so far in this tournament she has been playing consistent tennis as she has yet to drop a set.
Konta came into this match hoping she could become the sixth active female player to complete a full set of semifinals in all four Grand Slams. In the fourth round, she defeated Karolina Pliskova, a player against whom she had lost six out of seven times. The stakes were similar in this match up for Konta as she hadn’t been able to get a win over the Ukrainian in four meetings.
However, Svitolina played with confidence throughout the match and she was able to book her spot in the last four. In the semifinal, Svitolina will face the six-time US Open champion Serena Williams.
Both players held their serves with relative ease throughout the first four games. It was the Ukrainian who struck first, taking advantage of Konta's mistake and converting the break on her second chance. Konta fought back and gained a break point after hitting an unreachable dropshot which would later be converted after Svitolina failed to hit a slice over the net.
Back on serve, Konta couldn't carry on the momentum of the previous game and Svitolina broke on a backhand winner. Despite leading the scoreboard, the Ukrainian struggled to hold her serve and had to save a break point before confirming the break and lead 5-3. The Brit held effortlessly and hoped to break Svitolina to stay in the set, but the fifth seed didn't relinquish and secured the first set on her second set point.
Putting aside the opening set, Konta started the second one with a clean hold. Svitolina held and then both players exchanged holds to tie the scoreboard to 2-2. Once again, it was the Ukrainian who got the early lead after the Brit hit a long forehand on break point. Just like in the first set, Konta fought back in a similar fashion and broke after hitting a dropshot that stunned the crowd and Svitolina herself.
Determined to recover the lead, Svitolina mercilessly broke Konta to love. She then went on to hold, getting closer to the end of the match. Konta needed to hold to stay in the match, but with her forehand failing her she was forced to save two match points. Fortunately for the Brit, her serve helped her out of that trouble and handed Svitolina the pressure of serving for the match. The Ukrainian wasn't unnerved and served really good to win the game to 15 and the match.