(Reuters) - Top seed Johanna Konta reached the final of the Nottingham grasscourt tournament on Saturday with a 6-2 7-5 win over Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova.
The British number one will play Croatian Donna Vekic, 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(4) victor over Czech Lucie Safarova in the day’s second semi-final, in the climax to the Wimbledon warm-up tournament on Sunday.
Konta, who was born in Australia but took British citizenship five years ago, is aiming to become the first British woman to win a WTA event on home soil since Virginia Wade at Eastbourne in 1975. Wimbledon, which Wade won in 1977, is not part of the WTA Tour.
Having reached the top six in the world rankings last month, she is also optimistic about an improved performance at Wimbledon, where she won for the first time last year after four opening-round defeats.
Konta has yet to drop a set in the tournament and after she broke Rybarikova in the fifth game of the match, was always in control again.
The Slovakian showed resistance in a tighter second set but Konta broke again at 5-5 before going on to seal her place in a first Nottingham final after one hour 41 minutes.
The other semi-final was a tight tussle which lasted for 10 minutes under three hours and witnessed real heart from Vekic, who was reduced to tears of frustration by a tight line call that went against her in the final set but recovered her poise to prevail in the decisive tiebreak.
Reporting by Steve Tongue and Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond