China Open: Konta crushes Zhang Shuai in quarters

Buoyed by the home crowd, Zhang Shuai broke Johanna Konta twice to take the opening four games of the match. But at 0-4 down, Konta abruptly turned the tide in her favour winning 12 consecutive games to book her semi-final spot.

JOHANNA KONTA

Johanna Konta staged an incredible comeback to down home favourite Zhang Shuai in China Open quarterfinals.   -  Reuters

Johanna Konta crushed home hero Zhang Shuai in two sets in the China Open quarter-finals on Friday.

Buoyed by the home crowd, Zhang broke the Briton twice to take the opening four games of the match.

But at 0-4 down, Konta abruptly turned the tide in her favour winning 12 consecutive games to book her semi-final place with a 6-4, 6-0 victory.

The fourteenth-ranked Briton is now one win away from joining the ranks of the top 10, which would make her the first British woman to join the elite grouping since Jo Durie in 1984.

Konta next faces American Madison Keys, who ended Petra Kvitova's eight-match winning streak in an epic two-tie break victory, 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/5).

Keys put in an Olympic effort to exact revenge over Kvitova in their first meet since the Czech denied the American a bronze medal in Rio.

A double fault by Kvitova turned the first set in favour of Keys, but she pulled back in the second pushing it to a tie break, which she won.

There was little between the pair in the final set, but Kvitova's 32 unforced errors to Keys' 25 ultimately cost the Czech a semi-final place -- and ended her eight-match winning streak.

"She made it really tough today. I'm just really happy that at the end I was able to get my serve back on track and get myself ahead in the tiebreaker," Keys told reporters after the match.

Kvitova has had a year of ups and downs since she split with her coach of seven years David Kotyza after the Australian Open in January.

She ended last year runner-up in the WTA Finals in Singapore but this season she has failed to get past the round of 16 at any of the Grand Slams, and her ranking fell to 16 -- its lowest since 2011.

Keys, 21, made her top 10 debut this year after winning her second career title in Birmingham in June.

The big hitting youngster -- who is often cast as a successor to 22-Grand Slam champion Serena Williams -- is also chasing her first qualification for the elite WTA Finals in Singapore, which features the season's top eight players.

With her quarter-final win she moves into seventh in the Race to Singapore leaderboard, but Konta is hot on her heels.