Johanna Konta knocked out of Aussie Open by Serena Williams

Johanna Konta found Serena Williams a step too far at the Australian Open as the British number one was beaten 6-2 6-3 in the quarter-finals.

Britain's Johanna Konta lost in two sets to Serena Williams. Picture: Andy Brownbill/AP
Britain's Johanna Konta lost in two sets to Serena Williams. Picture: Andy Brownbill/AP

Konta arrived on Rod Laver Arena as the form player in the draw but, in truth, she barely laid a finger on the American, who cruised to victory in 75 minutes.

Defeat means Britain has no players left in either singles tournament in Melbourne while Williams advances to meet Croatia’s surprise semi-finalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

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Many considered Konta a genuine threat to Williams here, given the Briton had not conceded a single set en route to the last eight and came in on the back of nine consecutive victories.

She had chances, at the start of the first set when her opponent’s serve was misfiring and, most notably, early in the second when she led by a break and 3-1.

Williams, however, always looked at ease with her opponent’s aggressive baseline game and another upset in a topsy-turvy tournament never looked on the cards.

“She’s been playing so well,” Williams said on court afterwards.

“She won Sydney, she’s been cleaning up her matches - I’ve been in the locker room watching her win, I’ve been like, ‘Gosh she’s doing so well’.

“She’s a future champion here for sure so I’m pleased to get through that.”

Williams’ hopes of sealing an Open era 23rd grand slam title, and her seventh at Melbourne Park, remain very much intact while a ninth major final meeting with her sister Venus is also a possibility.

The most prestigious siblings in tennis show no sign of fading, this the first time in the Open era that two players aged 35 or older have reached the semi-final at the same grand slam.

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Venus plays Coco Vandeweghe on Friday.

For Konta, she will be disappointed not to have stretched the world number two further but the Briton lost to the eventual champion, Angelique Kerber, last year and may well have done so again.

This was her first ever meeting with Williams and the 25-year-old can surely only have gained from the experience.

Konta made an assertive start, driving a forehand down the line on the very first point and then holding serve to love for 1-1.

The third game offered her an early opportunity as Williams struggled to find her first serve in a game that included three deuces.

When another serve clapped into the net, the American cried, “Get a first serve in!” but Konta was unable to capitalise on her opponent’s irritation.

Finally, Williams located her most potent weapon and held with an ace.

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Against the best players, missed chances are often quickly punished and so it proved as Konta was then broken herself.

Two rasping forehands gave Williams 0-30 before a Konta backhand hit the net. It was only the fourth time the Briton had been broken all tournament.

Soon she had conceded her first set of the fortnight too but Williams came under pressure again early in the second.

This time it was the American who squandered opportunities, passing up three break points at 1-0 and then conceding the game with a forehand called long, which a challenge would have shown as in.

Her carelessness continued into the third game when two missed forehands and a double fault helped Konta break and suddenly it was the underdog in front 3-1.

No sooner had she grabbed the advantage, however, Konta gave it back, a double fault and misjudged drop-shot allowing Williams to break to love.

Konta had another sniff at 3-3 but missed a forehand long and Williams delivered two booming aces to hold.

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It proved another costly moment as Williams stepped up again with a backhand winner to break, leaving her serving for the match at 5-3.

Any semblance of tension quickly vanished as three powering serves confirmed victory and Konta’s convincing defeat.