Britain’s Johanna Konta beats world number two Simona Halep in China

Konta, ranked 66 in the world, produces stirring final-set comeback to win 6-3 3-6 7-5

Johanna Konta of Great Britain reacts after defeating Simona Halep of Romania at the Wuhan Open at Optics Valley International Tennis Center in Wuhan, China. Photograph: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

Johanna Konta of Great Britain reacts after defeating Simona Halep of Romania at the Wuhan Open at Optics Valley International Tennis Center in Wuhan, China. Photograph: Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

 

Johanna Konta claimed the biggest scalp of her blossoming career by beating world number two Simona Halep at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open in China.

The 24-year-old is set to take over as Briton’s top-ranked female player next week and celebrated in style with a stirring final-set comeback to win 6-3 3-6 7-5 after two-and-a-quarter hours on court.

Konta, ranked 66 in the world, had trailed 5-1 in the deciding set, but then reeled off the next six games to secure a quarter-final against Venus Williams. By reaching the last 16 of the tournament, which boasts 19 of the world’s top-20 players,

Konta had already ensured she would replace Heather Watson as the top-ranked British female when next week’s rankings are released. That rapid rise had come on the back of 20 wins in her past 21 matches, yet her most prized scalp was to come.

No player has won more hardcourt matches than Halep this season, which includes her run to the US Open semi-finals, but the Romanian was given an early indication of the task at hand as

Konta claimed the opening set. Haelp hit back in the second and then appeared to have broken

Konta’s challenge when she stormed 5-1 ahead in the decider. But Konta, who had to qualify for the main draw, twice broke when Halep had the chance to serve for the match before breaking again at 5-5 and serving out for a memorable win.

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