British No1 Johanna Konta showcased her Wimbledon title-winning credentials by beating world No1 Angelique Kerber to reach the semi-finals at the Aegon International in Eastbourne.
World No7 Konta converted her fourth match point to prevail 6-3, 6-4 but not before a stoppage of almost 10 minutes which saw the 26-year-old receive treatment following an awkward fall on the baseline.
Konta will now take on Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova, who beat Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (7-9), 6-2, 6-4, today for a place in the final after being cleared to continue playing after hitting her head.
“I got checked out and I’ve got no signs of concussion,” said Konta. “I’m actually feeling not too bad. That’s the most important thing. I’ve just got a bit of a sore head, hope to have a chilled evening and I’m sure I’ll pull up well.”
Victory over Kerber was Sydney-born Konta’s second win of the day as the women’s draw caught up on a backlog of rain-affected fixtures. Her first triumph came against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who she beat 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.
Konta is set to be the first British woman ranked in the top-10 to feature at Wimbledon since 1984 when the main draw gets underway on Monday. Virginia Wade, meanwhile, was the last British woman to win the ladies’ singles title in 1977.
Fellow Briton Heather Watson joined Konta in the tournament’s last four after overpowering world No20 Barbora Strycova 6-1, 1-6, 6-4, having earlier defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-3.
Watson, who goes into Wimbledon as a wildcard entry, will now face former world No1 Caroline Wozniacki in the last four. She said: “I’ve been working really hard these last couple of months and have been waiting for the results to start coming.”
World No855 Alex Ward became the sole British player to emerge through Wimbledon singles qualifying after dispatching Russia’s Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1.
Fellow Britons Marcus Willis and Jay Clarke, however, bowed out in the final round.