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Konta makes last eight

JO Konta is looking forward to Š—“an incredible experienceŠ— against Serena Williams after becoming the only Brit to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. With compatriots Andy Murray and Dan Evans falling in the men’s event at the same stage, Konta defeated Ekaterina Makarova for a second successive year in the fourth round.

I think I came out definitely playing at a higher level than she did

JO Konta is looking forward to Š—“an incredible experienceŠ— against Serena Williams after becoming the only Brit to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. With compatriots Andy Murray and Dan Evans falling in the men’s event at the same stage, Konta defeated Ekaterina Makarova for a second successive year in the fourth round.

Her 6-1 6-4 victory over the Russian 30th seed means she is yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Beating Williams, winner of 22 Grand slam titles, would see the ninth seed from Sussex repeat her run to the semi-finals last year.

On facing Williams, who overcame Czech Barbora Strycova, seeded 16, 7-5 6-4, for the first time, Konta said: "Believe it or not that’s an incredible experience for me.

"She’s one of the few players still playing who I watched growing up. As a young girl wanting to be a professional tennis player, it’s an incredible honour and I can’t wait to play on court with her.

"Once out on court, against anyone, anyone is out there to compete. Hopefully I’ll come off as the winner.

"In terms of enjoying the opportunity and the competition, I will cherish every minute out there."

Konta proved that 35-year-old Williams can expect a tough test as she sealed her ninth victory in a row, all achieved in two sets.


Konat launches another one of her winning serves

Image © Getty Images

It took her three hours to beat Makarova in 2016, but her game had improved sufficiently for her to markedly speed up the demolition process.

The Australian-born ace, who clinched the Sydney crown in her birth city going in, took a mere 24 minutes to clinch the opening set.

She got her serve up and running swiftly, bagging 78 per cent of the points on it.

And she was able to attack the Makarova serve to good effect, winning 62 per cent.

Her power and aggression left her opponent struggling and, although having to come back from 4-1, won five games on the bounce and secured victory.

Konta said: "I think I came out definitely playing at a higher level than she did but she really put herself back into that match and made it difficult for me.

"The way she pulled away in the second set, I don’t feel like I did much wrong, she started playing some incredible tennis."

Konta is clearly a genuine contender with even Williams wary of her threat, with the AmericanŠ—Ès coach Patrick Mouratoglou having admitted as much.

* Quotes from the BBC







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