British tennis superstar Johanna Konta, with another storming performance on Monday, blew Russian 30th seed Ekaterina Makarova away 6-1 6-4 at the Margaret Court Arena.
Last year at this same stage, Konta had needed three hours and three sets to see off Makarova, but was able to pull this one off in a far shorter time in two sets.
Konta arrived in Melbourne having won her second WTA title in Sydney, and Monday’s victory over Makarova extends her winning streak, making it nine matches and 18 sets in a row.
Now the 25-year old is ready for the biggest test of her career – a quarter-final showdown with Serena Williams, who also overcame resistance from Czech 16th seed Barbora Strycova to win 7-5 6-4.
After the game at the Margaret Court Arena, Konta smiled about her next big game with the 22-time Grand Slam champion for the first time, and told reporters she’ll be giving her best as she also hopes to enjoy every moment of the clash.
“Getting to take on Serena is an incredible experience for me. She’s one of the few women I watched growing up who’s still around and I can’t wait to share a court with her,” Konta said.
“Once I’m out on court against anyone I’m there to compete and give my best and hopefully walk off a winner, but in terms of enjoying playing someone like Serena Williams I’ll definitely cherish every moment out there.
“For now, I’m really, really happy to have come through this test.
“I think I came out playing at a higher level than she (Makarova) did, but she really pulled herself back into it and made it difficult.
“There really wasn’t much in that second set and she played some incredible tennis, but I just trusted myself and wanted to enjoy myself,” she added.
Serena Williams was however not at her very best at the Rod Laver Arena on Monday, but did enough to see off Strycova.
The six-time Melbourne champion fell a break of serve down three times in the first set, but fought back to eventually win 7-5 6-4.
“She’s a really smart player – she can do pretty much everything,” Williams said of Strycova.
“It was a really good match for me and I’m glad I came through it,” she added.
Konta and Williams will battle for a spot in the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
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