Konta beats Stephens to set up Williams meeting in Rome

Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta recovered from a set down to defeat American world number eight Sloane Stephens 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-1 and reach the Italian Open third round.

The Briton, 27, made light work of the deciding set to record a seventh clay court victory of the year in two hours 33 minutes in Rome.

Due to persistent rain on Wednesday, the Briton will play twice on Thursday and faces Venus Williams next.

Williams received a bye after sister Serena withdrew with injury.

Konta made the perfect start against Stephens, breaking the American twice before saving four break points to take a 4-0 lead.

But 2017 US Open champion Stephens rallied impressively to recover her deficit before sealing a first-set tie-break 7-3.

The Briton made a crucial break at 4-4 in the second set to force a decider, and won three consecutive break points in the third to close out the match.

Elsewhere, Japan’s world number one Naomi Osaka eased past Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets, winning 6-3 6-3 to set up a third-round match against Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Dutch world number four Kiki Bertens overcame 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova 6-2 4-6 7-5, while 2017 Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza also progressed, 6-4 4-6 6-2, against Danielle Rose Collins.

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