The British player, who at the start of the year, made the semi-finals of the Australian Open – losing to eventual winner, Angelique Kerber – made the final this week by beating Eastbourne winner, Dominika Cibulkova, in the semi-finals.
Konta’s, Stanford final opponent, was bidding to win the California title for the 3rd time in her career as well as lift her 50th career trophy.
The first set was a tight duel until Konta made her breakthrough on the Williams’ serve to edge it out by 7-5.
By the second set, Konta took complete control of the final and, at 4-1 up, looked to be closing in on a massive step in her career. Williams, then from nowhere, threw caution to the wind and hit back at her British opponent. The American started to put doubts in Konta’s mind to take 6 games in the second set and take it 7-5.
If nerves and the hot heat were getting to Konta, it didn’t show in the final set showdown. Having beaten her opponent in the first round of the Australian grand slam, she knew her game was there to do it again. And she did.
Konta, got a quick break in the decider to lead 3-1 and, even at 5-2 and break points down on her serve, she managed to get over the winning line 6-2 and into the winners’ circle for the first time in her tennis life.
“It’s quite an incredibly humbling experience. It’s a validation of all the hard work you’ve already put in,” said Konta, who became only the 2nd British winner of the tournament, since Sue Barker in 1977.
Konta, who will rise in the world rankings to 14 from 147 last years, added: “I wanted to leave it all out there, but also absorb everything that I could possibly reinvest in my career moving forward. “It was about keeping things in perspective, and understanding there’d be ebbs and flows in the match. Every single point was a battle, and I tried to win as many battles as possible. The simpler you keep things, the more clarity you have, and the less dumb you play!”
Konta joins Heather Watson as British players winning on tour this season, with Osaka being Watsons success at the start of the 2016 season. Both will embark on the Rio Olympics at the start of August before heading for the final grand slam of the season – US Open – beginning at the end of that month at Flushing Meadows.