Britain's Johanna Konta on brink of history

JOHANNA Konta reaffirmed her status as the hottest property in British women's tennis by powering her way into the fourth round of the Australian Open, dismissing a hobbling Denisa Allertova with the greatest of ease 6-2, 6-2.

Johanna Konta. Picture: Aaron Favila

It took just 64 minutes for the now calm, assured and confident Konta, pictured, to get the job done. Should she beat Ekaterina Makarova in the next round, she will become the first British woman to reach a grand slam quarter-final since Jo Durie at Wimbledon in 1983. Konta is playing the tennis of her life and the thought of facing Makarova, a woman she beat seven months ago in Eastbourne, does not faze her.

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“She’s an incredibly good player,” Konta said. “When you play players like that, it’s not so much a forehand or backhand or a serve. They can hit all of it and they can hit all of it extremely well. I think it’s just about being there, fighting hard, and trying to capitalise on the small chances you do get.”

When they played last year, Makarova was No.8 in the world and Konta was No.146. This time, the Russian has dropped to No.23 while Konta is up to No.36 after yesterday’s win. Even the Australians are taking an interest (she was born in Sydney but has lived in Eastbourne since she was 12 and is now a British citizen); in an unlikely turn of events, they want to adopt a Pom as one of their own. Not that the pressure is getting to her.

“It would be very unrealistic for me to stick my head in the sand and say ‘this [the pressure] doesn’t exist’,” she said. “I’m down to earth: I strive to get better and better in understanding how the world works. But it’s just making sure that I stick to my priorities and know what’s important to me and how I want to live my daily life. And then the rest: you just answer everyone’s [the media’s] questions and then let it fall off your shoulders really.”