Johanna Konta insists she is capable of winning a grand slam title as long as she keeps giving herself the chance.
The British number one has enjoyed a fine season in the majors, with a semi-final at the French Open followed by a quarter-final at Wimbledon, and culminating in a first appearance in the last eight at the US Open.
However, that run at Flushing Meadows was ended by Elina Svitolina, the fifth seed, 6-4, 6-4 on Arthur Ashe.
Konta was attempting to become the first British woman to reach the semi-finals in New York since Jo Durie in 1983.
But she fell short against a familiar foe, Svitolina extending her 100 per cent record against Konta to five matches.
“I do feel that was the probably the best I felt her play against me. She played so well, to be honest,” said Konta.
“Actually, I didn’t play badly at all. I actually felt like I was doing a lot of good things out there, a lot of the right things.
“She just made me play that extra ball. It’s frustrating. You know, I would have loved to have come through that and come through a challenge like her, but I guess it will just have to be next time.
“I definitely think it’s just the more opportunities I give myself like this, the more chances I have of going a step further and even more steps further.
“I don’t have any regrets or any hindsight in what I did before or during the match. I think I did a lot of good things.
“I think I can definitely still get better and better, especially against an opponent like her. I can take a lot of good things from this still.”
Konta had been streets ahead of the rest of the field with the amount of winners she has hit this tournament and she had another 24 here.
But that was offset by an unforced error count of 35, compared to just 13 from the metronomic Svitolina.
The Ukrainian made the first breakthrough in a hard-fought fifth game, Konta eventually succumbing with a backhand into the net.
Konta, with actor Tom Hiddleston watching from her box again, broke straight back. But she then promptly gave away break point with a misguided drop shot and Svitolina pounced again, arrowing a backhand into the corner.
Back came Konta with another break point, but it was repelled with an ace as Svitolina clinched the opening set.
Another unforced error handed Svitolina a break for 3-2 in the second as a Konta forehand drifted wide.
Konta immediately hit back for 3-3, a stunning drop shot flopping over the net just out of Svitolina’s reach, only to then find herself at 0-40 and, when a volley fell short, she was passed and broken once more.
Konta faced two match points on her own serve, and gamely saved both to force the ball back into Svitolina’s hand, but Svitolina converted number three.
For Konta, it is now a trip to Broadway to watch Hiddleston in ‘Betrayal’. For Svitonina, it is back-to-back major semi-final appearances, having also reached the last four at Wimbledon.
The 24-year-old said: “I think we were both striking the ball well, it was quite even. I was just taking one point at a time and trying to stay calm.
“I was relieved I could serve it out and just very happy with the way I handled the pressure.”
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Fast and furious Serena Williams dropped just one game as she blew away China’s Wang Qiang 6-1, 6-0 at the US Open quarter-finals.
Wang, seeded 18th, did not manage to hit a single winner as she was taken apart in her first grand slam quarter-final.
It was the American’s 100th career victory at the US Open and at 44 minutes was the quickest match at this year’s tournament.
“It’s really unbelievable,” said Williams, 38. “When I first started here I was like, 16. I never thought I would get to 100 wins and still be here but I love what I do.
“When I’m playing someone I know is playing well I know I have to step up or go home, and I want to stay here.”
Williams showed no ill-effects from rolling her ankle during her fourth-round win over Petra Martic.
“I’m feeling good,” she added. “It’s been a tough year but physically I’m feeling great and more than anything I’m just having fun when I come out here.”
Williams, the eighth seed, will play Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals.
“She’s had a great year,” said Williams. “She made the semis at Wimbledon and I feel she wants to go one step further, so I feel I’ll have to come out and play really well.”
Svitolina, the fifth seed from Ukraine, beat Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-4 over 100 attritional minutes.
She said: “I don’t think that I was expecting going into this tournament that I’m going to make semis.
“I’m just taking one match at a time. It’s a grand slam. There is lots of pressure, lots of expectations from people. But you also put lots of pressure on yourself.
“You have to just go out there, do your job and don’t think too much what’s going on around you, and who handle it the best wins.
“Definitely it’s a big challenge to play against her. Obviously Serena is amazing champion. It’s probably it’s going to be really tough against her.”
Novak Djokovic admits his ultimate goal is to overhaul rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and hold the record for most grand slam titles.
Federer is currently out in front with 20 major men’s singles titles to his name, but at 38 his chances of adding to that tally are dwindling.
Nadal, 33, is two behind the Swiss and Djokovic currently has 16 following his epic Wimbledon win over Federer last month.
The Serbian is favourite to defend his US Open title over the next fortnight to move onto Nadal’s shoulders, and into Federer’s rear-view mirror.
“It’s still a very long way ahead of me,” he said. “It does also put a certain level of responsibility to me as well, because I am aiming to do that.
“You know, it’s definitely one of my ambitions and goals, if you want.
“I am 32. So things are a little bit different than they were 10 years ago, but I still feel young inside and outside. And I still am very motivated to keep going and especially at this stage.
“I mean, it’s always been the case but, especially now, more or less everything is about grand slams in terms of how I see tennis and how I approach them because, you know, they matter the most.
“So I will definitely try to play my best tennis and aim to play my best tennis at this event.”
Djokovic admitted his Wimbledon win, after a historic tie-break at 12-12 in the deciding set, was one of his most memorable matches.
“It’s in the top two matches I have ever played,” he added. “The other match is the one against Nadal in the final of the (2012) Australian Open which went almost for six hours.
“So those two matches really are very special and take a special place in my career and my mind as well.
“I still have flashes from the Australian match, many years after. And of course I would wish to remember the Wimbledon final against Roger this year for many years to come.”
Former Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson has withdrawn from the US Open with a knee injury.
Provided by Press Association Sports