Johanna Konta, the Eastbourne-based Brit, sealed her place in the Nottingham Open quarter-finals with an edgy tie-break triumph in the third and decisive set to overturn Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig.
The wildcard, who displayed her usual resilience, needed just over an hour to win the third set alone to bounce back from dropping the opening set then levelling up with a polished performance.
Konta punched the air in relief after registering a 142-minute 4-6 6-4 7-6(5) victory over a player in the world’s top 100, as she displayed her impressive grass court tactics and will prove a dangerous floater at the 2015 Aegon International.
The world #147, dropped her serve in the second game and was always playing catch up.
But Puig, serving for the opening set at 5-3, lost her nerve and slipped up only to reel off the next game without dropping a point on Konta’s service game.
The quality of play in the second set didn’t match the opening 40 minutes, with Puig looking vulnerable midway through and dropped back-to-back service games without any fight.
Konta’s three-game cushion was reduced when she fluffed shots in the eighth game but made no mistake on her next service game to capture the set.
It was a dreadful display early on in the third set, a real cat-and-mouse contest with both players dropping two service games and appearing content to decide the winner via a tie-break.
Konta was given the responsibility to serving to stay in the match, but reeled off four points to force a tie-break with Puig appearing to save herself for the tie-break.
Yet Puig dropped her serve on the first point and soon trailed 3-0. This lead gave Konta an injection of confidence, which resulted in the British ace playing with the same flair as the opening set.
However, Konta fluffed her first match point but made no mistake next time to set up a last eight meeting with Romanian Monica Niculescu.