Barty holds off Konta to win Nottingham title

Ashleigh Barty Nottingham 2018

Konta was furious at a decision that went against her as Barty moved 5-4 up and was involved in a heated exchange with the umpire, where she described the call as "a joke".

Konta defeated her vanquisher in last year's Nottingham final - Donna Vekic - in yesterday's semifinal and was aiming to be the first British woman to win a WTA singles title at home since Sue Barker in 1981.

"It was very tricky out here, quite windy, and I'd never played her before", Konta told Eurosport.

Barty, the world No.17, stayed tough to then rack up three match points on Konta's serve, the first of which she saved before the tough little Queenslander took the spoils with a passing shot.

Elsewhere, second-seed Australian teenager Alex de Minaur eased past Belarusian fourth seed Ilya Ivashka, 6-2, 6-4, in the ATP Challenger event to set up a Sunday showdown with Briton Evans.

In a reverse of last year's final, Konta beat the Croatian 6-2 6-3 and will now play top seed Ashleigh Barty, who overwhelmed Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-4 in the other semi-final.

The British No.1 won only one more point as Barty clinched victory with a backhand pass. Do you fully understand that?'

It was Barty's first tournament triumph of the year, the second of her career and a demonstration from the former junior Wimbledon champion that she could now even be an outside threat for the senior title next month.

"I think when I first got on the grass, I instantly felt comfortable".

"She's improved a lot and is playing very well over the past year since she's come back and getting better and better". Before she could return to court, rain fell on court for a time before the players returned to continue the match.

Johanna Konta lost her cool during a defeat to Ash Barty in the final of the Nottingham Open and refused to shake hands with the chair umpire.

"She has defintely improved a lot since a year ago as well, is playing incredibly well and so it is going to be a tough match for me, and I am looking forward to that".

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