Johanna Konta will go up against top seed Venus Williams in Sundays final of the Bank of the West Classic in California. Williams will play for her 50th WTA title in Stanford in the tournament where she made her professional debut 22 years ago.The American overcame tenacious Alison Riske 6-1 7-6 (7-2) on Saturday to set up a showdown with Britains third seed Konta. Konta, ranked 18th in the world, reached her first career WTA final with a 6-4 6-2 victory over second seed Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova.After sailing through the opening set, Williams had to fight her own inconsistent serve in the second.Up 5-4 in the second and serving for the match, Williams produced three double faults and wasted two match points before finally easing through the tie-break.The 36-year-old Williams, who won the Stanford title in 2000 and 2002, won her 49th career singles title in Taiwan in February.Konta, who reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January, and at Eastbourne in June, has recovered impressively since a disappointing second-round exit at Wimbledon in June. Venus Williams set to battle for a 50th WTA title on Sunday Im really happy to have come through that and to be in my first final, Konta said. Im really happy that its here in California, where the weather is unbelievable.Konta dominated on serve and closed out the first frame with an ace, and delivered more of the same in the second set, winning 27 of the 29 points on which she put her first serve in play.She could not hide her delight after a long forehand on match point from Cibulkova sailed out and she let out a scream of joy.Its a release of emotions, because I felt I needed to do a very good job of focusing on myself, my own game. And I was very happy I was able to do that and thats what happens when you try to stay calm for so long, Konta said.I was trying to focus just on the circumstances and not anything that was going on around me. I enjoyed being out here, playing in front of a great crowd and am excited to come back on Sunday. Also See: WTA Schedule Tennis on Sky Up to ￡30 Free Matched Bet Video Panthers Jerseys
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. Vonn punctuated her near-perfect season in perfect fashion Friday, earning her fourth overall World Cup title with a dominating giant slalom victory.TORONTO - While Ottawa Redblacks general manager Marcel Desjardins has entertained some offers for his first overall pick in the CFL draft, he says theres a "relatively good chance" hell make the pick Tuesday night. "There has been some (interest) but not a whole lot," Desjardins said Monday. Desjardins says he knows who he wants to take first overall but is keeping it to himself. One player the Redblacks wont use the top pick on is McGill tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the top-ranked CIS prospect for the draft who was selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft Saturday by the Kansas City Chiefs. "As much as he wouldve been a guy that we probably wouldve selected, now that he has a commitment from an NFL team theres no reason for us to go in that direction," Desjardins said. The popular sentiment is if Desjardins keeps the No. 1 pick, hell use it on Laval centre Pierre Lavertu. The six-foot-three, 300-pound Lavertu finished third in the CFL scouting bureaus season-ending top-15 rankings, and while he might not have the most upside and potential, Lavertu is generally regarded as one of the most pro-ready prospects in the draft. Drafting Lavertu first overall would address a need for Ottawa after the off-season retirement of veteran Marwan Hage, whom the Redblacks selected in the CFL expansion draft in December from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. "Offensive line is a need, no doubt," Desjardins said. "But that doesnt necessarily mean 100 per cent thats what well do. "Theres a good chance but everybody talks about a certain number of guys, whether its those two or three other top prospects. Just because theyre being written about and spoken about that doesnt mean we have them graded the same way." For the first time ever, the CFL draft will be held at night, with the first round broadcast live on TSN. That could give teams more time to talk trade with Desjardins, although the Redblacks GM isnt anticipating a lot of last-minute offers. "Maybe a little bit but I wouldnt think that dynamic would change," he said. Toronto Argonauts GM Jim Barker said the extra time could prompt some action. "Im sure from early in the morning there will be people calling and youll sit there and probably want to do something," he said. "It will make for a long day . . . but I think its kind of cool were doing it in the evening." If the Redblacks are coveting Lavertu, they might be well advised to take him with the early selection because the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who have the No. 2 selection, are said to be very interested in the Laval centre. So much so that if Ottawa does take Lavertu first overall, the Bombers would then reportedly be willing to deal the second pick to acquire some assets while moving down in the first round and selecting a player who could still help them.dddddddddddd A potential trade partner could be the B.C. Lions, who are said to like Simon Fraser centre Matthias Goossen, the CFL scouting bureaus fifth-ranked prospect. Barker says Lavertu and Goossen are definite players of interest. "I think theres a lot of teams in this league looking for a centre . . . and theres a couple of them, he (Lavertu) and Goossen," Barker said. "Those are guys who are being looked at by all the teams. "I wouldnt say he (Lavertu) is the top prospect, hes one of the top prospects, theres no doubt about that. Hes a tough guy coming out of a good program." Hamilton could be another team on the lookout for a centre after losing Hage in the expansion draft. But the Ticats, who have the final first-round pick at No. 9 overall, would have to deal with either Ottawa or Winnipeg to be assured a shot at either Lavertu or Goossen. All nine teams will make first-round selections Tuesday night. The Edmonton Eskimos will select third overall, followed by the Montreal Alouettes. B.C. is at No. 5, with Toronto, the Calgary Stampeders and Grey Cup-champion Saskatchewan Roughriders selecting before Hamilton completes the opening round. Another offensive lineman expected to go early in the first round is Montreal tackle David Foucault. The towering six-foot-eight, 300-pound Foucault finished behind Duvernay-Tardif in the final top-15 list and although hell attend the Carolina Panthers mini camp this week, it wont be with the security of having signed an NFL contract. What makes Foucault a top prospect is much more than just his sheer size. Many CFL scouts believe he has the potential to develop into a dominant left tackle, a key spot on any offensive line. Should Edmonton pass on Foucault, its very likely Montreal will take him with the fourth selection. Another first-round prospect is Concordia Stingers defensive lineman Quinn Smith, who finished ranked fourth on the top-15 list following an impressive showing at the CFL combine. The six-foot-two, 305-pound Toronto native was solid on both sides of the football. Last week, Smith announced he had tested positive for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol prior the combine. If Smiths B sample also tests positive, hell receive a two-year ban from the CIS, thus ending his college career. But in the CFL, Smith would be deemed a first-time offender of its drug policy and be subjected to mandatory testing and an assessment, followed by counselling. A second offence would trigger a three-game suspension. 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