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Konta’s run comes to an end

JO Konta has revealed Š—“I will do my bestŠ— to live up to Serena WilliamsŠ—È expectations of her but was defeated 6-2 6-3 in quarter-finals of the Australian Open at Melbourne in what was her first meeting with the all-time great chasing a record 23 Grand Slams.

I definitely would have liked to have done a bit better

And her legendary opponen , who now meets unseeded Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in a thirty-something showdown, declared: Š—“She (Konta) always does really well here. She tends to do really good in Australia. I was just really happy to be able to get through. With her game, I definitely see her as a future champion.Š—

Konta wiped away dressing-room tears in the wake of her failed bid to reach the last four for the second successive year and said: Š—“ThatŠ—Ès nice (to hear). Well, I wlll do my best. I will try.Š—

The British No.1 believes facing Williams for the first time was Š—“probably one of the best experiences of my lifeŠ— and will help her attempt to lift the Slam title eventually.

Konta, 25, said: Š—“I definitely would have liked to have done a bit better. But I’m also really grateful and feel very good that I had this opportunity. There are so many things I can learn from that, so many things I can look to improve on and apply. I can also acknowledge some things that I did well.

Š—“Hopefully I’ll get another chance to play her and others who are able to make you feel that similar kind of time pressure within the points and are able to impose themselves.

Š—“I felt I did actually okay with that (the psychological challenge). I definitely would have liked to have had a bit more say in the match than I did. But unfortunately that’s also so much to do with Serena herself, the kind of tennis that she plays.

"I don’t think there’s one player on tour that goes up against her and feels like they’ve got much of a say in the matches. That’s what she’s very good at, the way she’s able to dictate and make sure that the matches and the points are on her terms.Š—

The ninth seed, outwardly cool on court, dismissed surprise at her off-court show of emotion.

Konta, who has Fed Cup for Team GB next on her schedule, said: Š—“I cry, too. I cried because I’m generally quite an emotional person. I think I’ve never hid that away. I’ve worked incredibly hard to direct that emotion into a positive way and into a constructive way on court. But off court I’m still very emotional.Š—

Williams Š—– who hits the ball harder than any womenŠ—Ès player on the tour Š—– used the power to her advantage; more on her returns than first serve. It helped her get an early grip and to break Konta on four occasions.

Konta squandered a break point in the third game of the match before Williams pressured her second serve and opened up a 3-1 lead.

Williams proves too big a hurdle

Image © Getty Images

Her American foe, 35, broke her again and the Sydney-born Brit had lost her first set in 19.

But Konta, who won the Sydney International going in, proved why she had had such a flying start to the year when she saved three break points before taking a 3-1 lead in the second set.

She wobbled in the next game and Williams went for the kill.

The Sussex-based ace, who had been unbeaten in nine, declines to rule out another Slam for Williams,

She said: Š—“If anyone ever counts Serena out, I don’t think they really know what they’re talking about.

Š—“Wherever’s she’s playing, she’s always there with more than just a shot. She’s a serious contender for any title, any competition that she plays.Š—

Williams might get to meet sister Venus, who faces fellow American Coco Vandeweghe in the other semi-final.

She said: Š—“It will be great to see an American in the final. Obviously, I would love to be that American in the final. Regardless, there’s going to be an American whose name is not Serena Williams, which I think will be pretty awesome. Both semis will be really good matches.Š—



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