Johanna Konta to face Serena Williams after Australian Open win over Ekaterina Makarova
Last Updated: 24/01/17 2:01pm
Johanna Konta booked an Australian Open quarter-final showdown with Serena Williams after a 6-1 6-4 victory over Russia Ekaterina Makarova.
The British number one, who is seeded ninth at Melbourne Park, had little trouble in racing through the opening set before showing tremendous composure in the second.
Trailing 4-1, the 25-year-old reeled off five games in succession to wrap up a fourth consecutive straight sets victory and book a place in the last eight of the Aussie Open for a second successive year.
"At the start I played at a higher level than she did but she was able to pull herself back into the match and made it very difficult for me in the second," said Konta.
"She started playing some incredible tennis so I just tried to continue trusting myself and enjoying playing out here and being okay if we stayed another three hours like last year."
Konta, the last remaining Briton in the singles events after Andy Murray and Dan Evans were beaten on Sunday, was beaten in the semi-final last year by eventual champion Angelique Kerber and standing in her way later this week will be the world number two and 22-time Grand Slam champion Williams.
The pair have never previously met but Konta has played some of the best tennis in the women's event and with the confidence flowing after claiming the title in Sydney last week she will take on the legendary American with hopes high.
"That's going to be an incredible experience for me, she's one of the few players still playing that I watched growing up as a girl and when I was wanting to be a professional tennis player," she said after her victory on Rod Laver Arena.
"It's an incredible honour and I can't wait to share a court with her. Once on court against anyone, everyone is out there to compete and hopefully walk off the winner but in terms of enjoying the opportunity against someone like Serena, I will cherish every single minute out there."
Williams remained on course for a seventh Australian Open crown and 23rd career Grand Slam title with a 7-5 6-4 victory over Czech 16th seed Barbora Strycova.
The 35-year-old joined older sister Venus in the last eight and with the pair in opposite sides of the draw, a first all-Williams major final since 2009 at Wimbledon remains a possibility.
"I think it's impressive. I think in general people our age aren't really playing at a top level, so indeed, it's definitely impressive," she said.
"Venus and I are mentally eight and nine, so that's why we're probably able to play a little better," she added, smiling.
"I feel like when you put in the hard work, the results, eventually, they show up. I love pressure, I deal well with pressure
"I love this game and I honestly have nothing to lose. Everything is a bonus for me now."
Australian Open - Women's Quarter-Finals
|Coco Vandeweghe||v||Garbine Muguruza (7)|
|Venus Williams (13)||v||Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (24)|
|Karolina Pliskova (5)||v||Mirjana Lucic-Baroni|
|Johanna Konta (9)||v||Serena Williams (2)|
Also in the bottom half of the draw Mirjana Lucic-Baroni continued her fairytale run in Melbourne.
The 34-year-old has only ever been beyond the fourth round of a Grand Slam once, the Wimbledon semi-final in 1999, but 18 years on she made the last eight of the year's first major with a 6-4 6-2 win over American Jennifer Brady.
Next up will be Czech fifth seed Karolina Pliskova who saw off the last remaining home hope with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Russian-born Australian Daria Gavrilova.
Pliskova had never been beyond the third round of a Grand Slam until reaching last year's US Open final and she is now into the last eight for the first time in Melbourne.
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