Late-blooming Johanna Konta won the biggest title of her career when she beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-3 in the women's final at the Miami Open on Saturday.
British 10th seed Konta used an aggressive game plan to overcome Danish 12th seed Wozniacki on the Crandon Park hardcourt.
Konta stuck to her hard-hitting tactics, despite a few hiccups, before clinching victory with a perfectly-weighted lob that landed on the baseline for her second title of the year, after winning in Sydney in January.
“I couldn’t believe it was over because I was so focused, just trying on every single point,” Konta, who hit 33 winners, said in a courtside interview.
“Having opportunities like these to almost get a pat on the back for all that hard work is very rewarding.”
Wozniacki used all of her vaunted endurance to run tirelessly after every ball, but was undone by a weak serve. She was broken six times and won only 30 percent of her second serves, which Konta picked off relentlessly.
Konta, 25, is somewhat of a late bloomer. She was ranked 150th in the world at the end of 2014 and improved to 47th in 2015, but her biggest improvement came last year.
It has been barely eight months since she clinched her first career title by beating Venus Williams in the Stanford, California final, before adding in the city of her birth the Sydney International in January.
“I think the belief has been there since I was a little girl,” said Konta, who will rise to seventh on Monday.
“Everybody’s journey is different. I needed a little more time and a little more experience to accumulate the knowledge that I have and re-use it in my matches.
“I play smart tennis and calmer tennis I think. It just took time. On paper it looks like a quick turnaround but it’s been a long time coming.”
Asked how high she could go in the rankings, and whether a grand slam victory was in her sights, she said: “I think the belief has been there since I was a little girl. I’d like to be the best player in the world but there’s a lot of work to be done between now and then.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry)