Tennis

Konta suffers injury blow before Wimbledon

Johanna Konta, who suffered a nasty fall in Thursday's win over world No. 1 Angelique Kerber at Eastbourne, withdrew from yesterday's semi-final at the Wimbledon warm-up event.

Seventh-ranked Konta banged her head and back heavily after a horror tumble during her quarter-final victory over Kerber and has been diagnosed with a thoracic spine injury.

The 26-year-old is Britain's best hope of ending a long wait for a women's Grand Slam champion that dates back to Virginia Wade's 1977 Wimbledon title.

Konta had been passed fit to play against Karolina Pliskova yesterday, but decided to pull out to avoid risking further damage.

"We made the decision based on the fact I'm still sore through my thoracic spine. Next week is Wimbledon, but I make decisions for my health," said Konta.

Konta is due to play against Taiwan's Hsieh Suwei, whom she lost to in her Roland Garros opener, in the first round at Wimbledon on Monday.

With the defending women's champion Serena Williams taking time out to give birth to her first child, last year's runner-up Kerber is slated to face Pliskova in the last four.

The other semi-final could be a repeat of the French Open final between surprise winner Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and Romania's Simona Halep.

Two-time champion Petra Kvitova, who won the warm-up event in Birmingham just six months after an attack by a knife-wielding intruder, plays Johanna Larsson of Sweden in the first round. - AFP