London – Johanna Konta made British history by becoming the first woman since Virginia Wade in 1978 to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals with a dramatic 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 defeat of Simona Halep on Tuesday.
The win also denied the Romanian the chance to take over the number one ranking; instead, second-round loser Karolina Pliskova takes the top spot on Monday.
With top seed Andy Murray into the men’s quarters, 2017 is the first time since 1973 that two Brits have gone this far at the All England club.
Sixth seed Konta will play four-time champion Venus Williams after the 37-year-old schooled French Open holder Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 7-5.
Konta was still in shock after a match which included a distraction from the crowd on match point when Halep stopped playing after a woman in the stands screamed in apparent joy for Konta mid-point.
“The scream was on my side and affected me,” Konta said. “There was a lot of emotion running.
“It was a little surreal, I’m still digesting things. I felt very clear on what trying I was trying to achieve.
“I stuck to my true self and created as many opportunities as possible. I knew Halep would not give me much for free. I had to create my own chances, fortunately I took a few of them.”
Helep had a chance to wrap it up leading a set and 5-4 in the second-set tiebreaker; but Konta fought back for 5-5 as the drama continued.
The Romanian accepted the match point distracton with good grace: “I was surprised that that lady was screaming. But the rest was nice atmosphere,” she said. “I thought he’s (chair umpire) going to repeat the point.
“I think it’s normal to repeat the point when someone is screaming like that. (But since he said) we cannot replay. I cannot change anything. So why I should fight?
“Like always when I lose, I’m very frustrated.”
Garbine Muguruza beat Russian seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4. The 14th seed, will return to the ranking top 10 as a result. Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova booked the last semi-final place over Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-3.
“This win means a lot, especially after last year losing in the second round,” Muguruza said. “I’m able to go deep in the tournament and I still have chances.
“I’m very happy and very pleased also with this match, because obviously Kuznetsova is a very tough opponent.”
In a delayed men’s fourth-round match, Novak Djokovic played under the roof due to drizzle, reaching the quarter-finals 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 over Adrian Mannarino.
Djokovic will not get a day off for as long as he keeps winning in his quest for a fourth Wimbledon crown; he has not dropped a set so far.
“I obviously was not happy not to play last night. I wanted to play,” Djokovic said. “I thought we could have played.
“We were kept for two and a half hours in the dark, in a way, without knowing what we are going to do. So you were on your toes warming up, cooling down. [The] referee’s office was completely indecisive.
“Finally when the (previous Rafael Nadal) match was over, we thought, ‘Okay, we have two and a half hours, we can go to Centre Court.’ They said, ‘No, it’s going to take too long to get the crowd in.'”
The second seed called the entire episode “frustrating, but I quickly just turned the next page and just focused on what I need to do today.
“I’ve done it in straight sets, that’s all that matters. So I try to just be in this moment and look forward to the next challenge.”
Djokovic, who has reached the last eight at the All England club for a ninth time, may carry a fitness worry into his match against Tomas Berdych after being treated several times on his upper right arm and shoulder by the trainer.
Djokovic has won their last dozen matches dating to 2013. One of Berdych’s two victories in the series was success at 2010 Wimbledon in the semi-finals.