Britain’s last remaining singles hope in Melbourne, Johanna Konta continues her pursuit of a maiden Grand Slam against Serena Williams
But when Johanna Konta and Serena Williams also at the Rod Laver Arena, gets underway in the second match early session, the Briton’s task is unenviable as she hopes to end Serena Williams’ push for a 23rd Grand Slam in Melbourne.
But the in-form 25-year-old has a huge chance – and this duel has all the ingredients for a classic. Both players are yet to drop a set, with the winner expected to storm on and clinch the title.
Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou called Konta ‘someone who plays so fast, so aggressive, takes the ball early. It will be difficult.’
Australian coach Pete McCraw recalls the day when a young Jo Konta skipped lunch during training sessions at Melbourne Park to practise a new grip he had taught her.
When she was 11, he found her out by a hitting wall beside the complex’s Court 3, and asked why she was not sitting in the cafe with her cohort. ‘Because one day I want to play on this court,’ she replied.
That was before she emigrated to the UK in her early teens, and this determination to succeed means she has gone way better than Court 3.
When asked about upcoming opponents, Williams sometimes either does not know them, or affects not to know them. Konta’s reputation is burgeoning at a rate that she made no such pretence this time.
‘I have watched her a lot. She’s been doing really, really well,’ said Williams. ‘She has a very attacking game. I know her game pretty well.’
Konta dismissed world No 34 Ekaterina Makarova 6-1, 6-4 on Monday, extending her winning streak to nine matches. Williams was made to struggle more by tricky Czech Barbora Strycova before winning 7-5, 6-4.
In another tough match of the day, Rafael Nadal faces Milos Raonic under the floodlights for a semi-final spot
While Mirjana Lucic-Baroni makes her first Grand Slam quarter-final appearance in 18 years against Karolina Pliskova
When Rafael Nadal takes on Milos Raonic at Rod Laver Arena, in the morning session, pundits are already looking towards a Roger-Rafa reunion.
Federer had ticked off his latest challenge yesterday, and Nadal is expected to follow suit but not without shedding off his high ridding opponent today. The Spaniard had bulldozed his way into the quarter-finals, but will face his sternest examination yet from third seed Milos Raonic. This one could go the distance, with Nadal’s experience potentially proving the difference.