Thursday, 14/12/2017 | 6:17 UTC+0
Britennis

Konta Makes History at Australian Open

Konta edged a decidedly tight match, in which her opponent's higher number of unforced errors was possibly the deciding factor.

Konta edged a decidedly tight match, in which her opponent’s higher number of unforced errors was possibly the deciding factor.

British Number One Johanna Konta became the first woman to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam since Jo Durie in 1984 after battling through a three-set thriller at the Australian Open earlier today, winning 4-6 6-4 8-6 against Russian 21st seed Ekaterina Makarova in three hours and four minutes.

Konta will now face either American Madison Keys or Chinese qualifier Shuai Zheng in the quarter-finals – both of which would be seen as winnable matches on this kind of form.

Konta did struggle with her first serve throughout the match, and it let her down in the first set, serving just 43% of first serves in and, crucially, being broken twice to go behind in the match. She raised her game in the second set though, breaking early and holding serve throughout, not even offering the Russian a breakpoint, and the match was levelled.

The deciding set was a classic: each player threatened to break serve but was denied, either by strong serving from the Russian or excellent backhand angles from the Brit. At 4-4, Konta took a crucial break of serve and came out at 5-4 preparing to serve for the match. But she was denied, Makarova finding some aggression from within and pouncing on every second serve she was offered, before holding and putting the pressure right back on Konta at 5-6.

Konta dug deep and held serve, and then turned the tables by capitalising on some weak second serves and some unforced errors from the Russian, breaking serve again and regaining the momentum. She had a second chance to serve for the match at 7-6.

Two huge serves took her to 30-0. Aggressive, accurate play brought her three match points. An unreturned serve clinched the victory.

A quite astonishing run, then, for Johanna Konta this week, and the potential is there to go further. With a couple of days’ rest, she’ll be raring to go in her quarter-final, and we British Tennis fans will be behind her 100%. Go JoKo!

About

25-year-old University of St Andrews graduate with a rather insane passion for British Tennis. Boston United fan (don't ask). Favourite tennis player: the Brummie bunch - Dan Evans and Lloyd Glasspool.

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