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Result: Johanna Konta battles back to see off Sloane Stephens

Result: Johanna Konta battles back to see off Sloane Stephens
© Reuters
The British number one hit back after dropping the first set.

Johanna Konta came back from the brink against Sloane Stephens to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon.

The British number one broke new ground in the process, making the second week of successive grand slams for the first time following her run to the semi-finals at the French Open in May.

Konta looked to be heading for the exit with former US Open champion Stephens a set up and dictating the match.

But Konta managed to stop the bleeding and haul herself level before a composed final set wrapped up a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory.

"The more opportunities I get to be in the latter stages of grand slams, the more experience I gain," she said.

"Experience can only bring good things. It can only help with managing different things, different situations that come up at this point of the tournament.

"I'm really pleased that I've been able to make it to the second week in two successive grand slams. I've never been able to do that before. I'm really pleased with that achievement."

Victory on Court One extended Konta's 100 per cent record against Stephens to four matches.

The most recent of those wins was a 6-1 6-4 pummelling in Paris, where Stephens was overrun by Konta's energy and intensity.

It seemed she had learned a lesson from that painful defeat, with the American soaking up the power from Konta and moving her all around the court.

Konta's serve has improved immensely since last year, so much so that she had not been broken all week.

Sloane Stephens was beaten by Johanna Konta
Sloane Stephens was beaten by Johanna Konta (Adam Davy/PA)

That changed in the eighth game of the first set, Stephens mixing things up with lobs, drops and powerful groundstrokes to force the pivotal break.

A loose forehand from Konta gifted Stephens two break points at 2-2 in the second, to her obvious frustration as she gestured angrily to her coaching team.

She managed to repel both, and then a third among six deuces for what looked an important hold.

Konta forced a break point, her first of the match, at 4-3 but, facing a second serve, wastefully pushed the return long and the chance disappeared.

The 28-year-old had to quickly put that setback behind her and, to her credit, she did, a comfortable hold followed by a break, at the second attempt, to level the match.

The 2017 semi-finalist had transformed the match. Suddenly Stephens' range had deserted her and a rejuvenated Konta held to love before breaking twice to book a fourth-round meeting with two-time champion Petra Kvitova on Monday.

"It was a really tough match. My opponent has the ability to play very, very well," added Konta.

"I mean, she's not a grand slam champion for no reason. She was playing really, really well at the beginning.

"So I'm just really pleased to have competed and just really try to find a way to get myself into the match.

"I was really pleased with my acceptance of recognising that she was playing really well, and keeping an open mind.

"Trying to find a way, trying to give her different looks, try to give her different balls, just to try to get her out of her zone, because she was very much in it for a big portion of the match, especially in the first set, then a big part of the second. Pretty much the whole second.

"I'm pleased that I kept on playing the game and just trying to really work my way into the match and bring the best level I could, as well."

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