Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
COME BACK FOR LIVE SCORES & LIVE BLOG FROM 26 JUNE
Johanna Konta is hoping to follow Andy Murray’s lead and start re-writing the British tennis record books. The world No.8 will make a major impact if she can win a first WTA grass court title by overcoming Croatia’s Donna Vekic in the Nottingham Open final .
Konta reached the final by defeating Magdalena Rybarikova, the Slovakian world No. 117, 6-2, 7-5 and now faces Vekic, who took two hours 48 minutes to get past fifth seed Lucie Safarova 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(4). Konta has won two finals this year in Sydney and Miami and will be the favourite to become the first British player to win a grass court title since Virginia Wade collected the 1977 Wimbledon women’s singles.
Sue Barker was the last British player to win a WTA singles title, triumphing on a carpet court in Brighton in 1981 while Wade was the last British winner on grass away from Wimbledon taking the Eastbourne title in 1975.
Vekic, the world No.70, was concerned she had let victory slip away and was reduced to tears of frustration by a tight line call that went against her in the final set. She said: “I lost one third set tie-break earlier on this year, which was my toughest loss of the season. So I was telling myself “Come on, you have this one," and tried to be positive, to focus on my serve, to take my time. And it worked.
“Matches like this give you a huge amount of confidence. Winning a third set tie-break is amazing and this feeling after the match is the reason why we all play. It's a different kind of happiness. The final is going to be a tough match. She is playing well and she is confident, but I'm also playing well and I’m hoping that I can play like this so that it will be a good match for the crowd.”
Konta is delighted with her form and may have to look again at her schedule given the amount of time she has already spent on grass in the build up to Wimbledon. Konta is due to play in Birmingham and Eastbourne in the next two weeks and one of those may have to go. For now, her thoughts are only on the final and she said: "It feels pretty good. I'm really happy to have made it to the end of the week and I would like to think I have improved on all surfaces. I know Donna is playing very well and it will be a tough game.”
The British pair of Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae advanced to the final of the women’s doubles event with a 6-3 3-6 10-6 win over fellow Brit Heather Watson and American Christina McHale.
Dudi Sela, the world No.98, defused one big serving threat in Marius Copil in the Nottingham Open semi-final and then broke out in a smile when he talked about avoiding one of the fastest servers the world has ever seen in the final. Romanian Copil was firing off 139mph serves in the semi-final but had to retire with a shoulder injury – not a surprise given what he puts that part of his body through every match – with Sela leading 7-6(4), 1-0. Now, the 32-year-old Israeli player will take on Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano, the world No.103, who overcame Australia’s Sam Groth 6-4, 6-3. Groth has the world serving record with a 163mph rbomb and Sela can now prepare for a more tactical game against a player he beat in a Challenger event in China two years ago.
Sela’s success in reaching the final means he will not be competing in the qualifying for Queen’s and instead he is taking the opportunity to head back to Israel for a week to be with his family. As a result, he will train on hard courts but is happy with amount of grass tennis under his belt this week as he prepares for another Wimbledon campaign. Sela reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2009 and has the game to be a real problem but recent years have seen him handed tough draws against David Ferrer and Dominic Thiem. Sela said: "Wimbledon is one of the tournaments where you really hope for a good draw because a lot of players don’t like grass or do not play a lot on the surface. I feel it is a good opportunity to earn some good ranking points and some money and feel well with my tennis. If I play well there I feel good for my tennis for the rest of the year. I am going back to Israel for a week, practise on hard courts and then I will come back for Wimbledon.”
British brothers Neal and Ken Skupski won their 14th ATP Challenger tournament together - their first on grass - when they edged Australians Matt Reid and John-Patrick Smith 7-6(1) 2-6 10-7.