Stan Wawrinka is about to take to the court. “The emotion I get here is always great and hopefully I can play at a good level today,” he says.
In other British-based news, Arthur Fery lost his second-round match against Canada’s Liam Draxl 7-6, 6-1.
This wasn’t as bad as the French Open, when she was absolutely phenomenal in the quarter-final but fell apart in the semi. Svitolina is a fine player who gave nothing away. But the more often Konta reaches the final stages of Grand Slams without reaching the final of one, and the more often she comes out of major matches feeling that she lost rather than being beaten, the more problems with self-belief are likely to trouble her.
Final unforced error count: Konta 35-13 Svitolina. The Ukrainian was excellent, and her court coverage forced Konta to go for shots she might ordinarily have held back from, but there were just too many mistakes.
Elina Svitolina beats Jo Konta to reach the US Open semi-finals!
Second set: Konta 4-6, 4-6 Svitolina Konta takes the first point of the game, but that’s as good as it gets. At 30-15 Konta comes to the net but fails to put away a difficult first volley, allowing Svitolina to sprint across the court and hit an excellent backhand pass! That sets up two more match points, and after one more overcooked Konta forehand it’s all over!
Second set: Konta* 4-6, 4-5 Svitolina At 30-30 Konta has a straightforward forehand, which balloons off her racket to give her opponent a first match point. It’s saved with a strong serve, and when she concedes another with an overhit backhand that too is saved with a strong serve. This, she works out, is a decent tactic, and with two more service winners she takes the game and forces Svitolina to serve this out!
Second set: Konta 4-6, 3-5 Svitolina* Sometimes it’s like every fourth Konta shot is rubbish, and so long as Svitolina keeps a point going long enough she’s sooner or later going to be gifted it. At 40-30 Konta hits a great return which Svitolina can only scoop back. Konta runs forward, raises her racket, and slams her volley into the net, which just about sums up her afternoon.
Second set: Konta* 4-6, 3-4 Svitolina The comeback ends here. At 0-15 Konta hits another fine drop shot, but she is caught on her heels when Svitolina reaches it leading to her losing that point, and then there’s another unforced error, and a fine down-the-line pass, and the Ukrainian is a break up once again!
Second set: Konta 4-6, 3-3 Svitolina* At 15-30, down a break, down a set, Konta winds up a forehand in midcourt. Svitolina, at the other end, isn’t sure which way to run. Konta thwacks it three yards wide and a couple long. Thus what might have been two break points become 30-30, and the Konta fightback continues to falter under the weight of unnecessary errors. At deuce Svitolina hits a weak second serve and Konta piles into the forehand return … which lands long. But then Svitolina fails to put away an easy backhand, Konta reads her intentions and wins a point that should have been over, and buoyed by this she takes the next couple of points, breaking back with a perfect forehand drop shot. Svitolina had an easy shot to go 4-2 up; instead it’s 3-3!
Second set: Konta* 4-6, 2-3 Svitolina At 30-15 Konta hits a backhand into the net, when had it cleared it was a straightforward winner. Then she unnecessarily hits another backhand well wide to concede a break point. Svitolina this time fails to punish a second serve, but she does so to win the next point, and another unforced error gives Svitolina the break! Konta has hit 25 unforced errors to her opponent’s 11, and there have simply been too many, at bad times.
Second set: Konta 4-6, 2-2 Svitolina* There is an absolute stonker of a point from Konta here, as she races back to chase down a lob, lifts up a defensive lob of her own, and then reaches Svitolina’s crosscourt backhand before thundering one of her own down the line. It doesn’t really help, and she eventually overhits a backhand to surrender the game.
Second set: Konta* 4-6, 2-1 Svitolina Konta holds to 15 and wins the game with an ace, though until then it had been a real scrap. It’s been a fun match so far, and has potential to give us quite a bit more.
Second set: Konta 4-6, 1-1 Svitolina* A second fairly straightforward hold as the players rein in the throttle a little.
Second set: Konta* 4-6, 1-0 Svitolina For the first time, a game is won to love.
Svitolina takes the first set 6-4!
First set: Konta 4-6 Svitolina* Konta’s thunderous backhand is a serious exocet, and when she hits it sweetly Svitolina cannot deal with it at all. She wins a couple of points with its assistance, including the first set point, but then on the second she opts for a slice, floats it long and that’s the set.
First set: Konta* 4-5 Svitolina Svitolina will have to serve for the set, after Konta serves her first ace on her way to a relatively straightforward hold. The final point is won on the second serve, which Svitolina has been tucking into like they’re an all-you-can-eat buffet, but this time she significantly overhits her forehand.
First set: Konta 3-5 Svitolina* From 30-0 Konta turns the game around to eventually have a break point at 30-40. Svitolina wins it with an ace (Konta has had three break points, and laid a racket on one of the resulting serves), and the next after an excellent rally, and then Konta fails to land her next service return.
First set: Konta* 3-4 Svitolina Another break! Svitolina breaks to 15 this time, pouncing on an indecisive volley when Konta could have killed the point to pass the Briton with a stretching crosscourt backhand. As the game ends, Konta is 11-6 up on both winners and unforced errors.
First set: Konta 3-3 Svitolina* Konta starts the game with her two best points of the match so far, the first won with a vicious backhand down the line, the second with a matching forehand after manoeuvring her opponent out of position. Svitolina recovers to 40-30 at which Konta clicks back into gear with a massive winning forehand, and she takes the game from there to break back instantly. She may have hit more unforced errors than her opponent, but she is also 11-4 up on winners.
First set: Konta* 2-3 Svitolina Konta goes 0-30 down by overhitting a forehand to end a long rally, and Svitolina goes on to have the match’s first break point. Konta saves that one, but when she concedes another and fluffs her first serve the writing is on the wall. Svitolina takes the second serve early, slams it back with interest and Konta can’t get her response over the net. The key metric here is unforced errors: Konta has hit nine, and Svitolina four.
First set: Konta 2-2 Svitolina* Tom Hiddlestone is once again in attendance, as he has been for each of Konta’s matches in this tournament, setting the tongues of tennis’s gossipmongers wildly wagging. Svitolina holds to 15, also hitting ferociously but also less error-strewn.
First set: Konta* 2-1 Svitolina There are two point-winning backhands here, one down the line at ferocious pace and one crosscourt with a fine angle. She holds to 15, and it’s been a very encouraging start.
First set: Konta 1-1 Svitolina* Konta has a glimmer of a chance at 15-30, but from there Svitolina serves an ace, Konta misses a return and Svitolina serves another ace, and that’s the end of that.
First set: Konta 1-0 Svitolina Not a perfect opening game from Konta, who hits a forehand wide, a first serve long and a backhand into the top of the net. But despite a couple of unforced errors it was a very promising start, the Briton hitting with power and depth.
Warm-ups have been warmed up, and Konta will serve first as the match gets under way.
It is a very sunny day, and apparently quite still. The temperature in New York is apparently a pleasant 26C. Perhaps everyone is out enjoying the weather, which is why they are so late to take their seats. The stands are less filling up than very gradually de-emptying.
Elina Svitolina has an even briefer chat, in which she reveals how she managed to beat Konta on each of their four previous meetings: “I think I was really focused from the beginning and that’s what I’ve got to do today.”
Action on the show courts! Jo Konta gives a brief pre-match interview before going out:
I’m just looking forward to going out there, to playing on Ashe for the first time in this tournament and hopefully playing some great tennis. I know I’m going to be in for a tough match and my record hasn’t been great against her, but there’s always another day to try and I’m looking forward to doing that.
The live feed from Arthur Ashe has started. Play is due to get under way in eight minutes and there are about 35 people in the world’s largest tennis stadium.
The only senior match currently ongoing is on the Louis Armstrong Stadium, where the German No12 seeds, Andreas Mies and Kevin Krawietz, are playing Leonardo Mayer and Joao Sousa in the men’s doubles quarter-finals. The German’s lead 4-3 in the first set, with the match going with serve.
Day nine dawns, a day in which Roger Federer faces Grigor Dimitrov for the eighth time (he has lost two sets and no matches) and Stan Wawrinka faces Daniil Medvedev for the second time (having lost the first at Wimbledon a couple of years back). In the women’s quarter-finals, Serena Williams attempts to avenge her Miami Masters defeat to Qiang Wang. Meanwhile on the outer courts Britain’s Arthur Fery plays in the junior singles on Court 10 and the junior doubles on Court 7. Interesting fact: Fery’s dad, Loïc Fery, is chairman of French Ligue 2 football club Lorient.
Before all that, though, comes the latest chapter in the Jo Konta story, as the Briton seeks her first win against Elina Svitolina, at the fifth attempt, and it is here that my focus will initially fall. If Konta plays as well as she can and often does, it should be an absolute cracker. Welcome!