Konta reaches last 16 in Australia

Johanna Konta

Konta is playing in the main draw in Melbourne for the first time

Britain’s Johanna Konta reached her second successive Grand Slam fourth round with victory over Czech Denisa Allertova at the Australian Open.

Konta, 24, won 6-2 6-2 at Melbourne Park to match her run to the last 16 at last year’s US Open.

She is the first British woman to make the fourth round of the Australian Open since Jo Durie and Anne Hobbs in 1987.

Konta goes on to face Russia’s 21st seed Ekaterina Makarova, who beat Czech ninth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-2.

Fellow Briton Andy Murray plays Joaoa Sousa of Portugal later on Saturday.

Quick-fire win for Konta

A first-serve percentage of 72%, 12 break points created and none faced told a story of complete domination by Konta in the opening match on Hisense Arena.

She broke serve at the first opportunity and fired down an ace 29 minutes later to seal the first set as Allertova, ranked 19 places lower at 66 in the world, struggled to keep pace at the other end of the court.

Konta served superbly throughout the match on Hisense Arena

The Czech had won their only previous match at last year’s French Open but Konta is an altogether different prospect these days and broke for the third time at the start of the second set.

Konta continued to dominate on serve and wrapped up a one-sided win after just 63 minutes.

“It was not easy out there,” said the Sydney-born Briton. “She’s an incredibly tough opponent and I knew I had to run down each ball and fight for every point. It definitely wasn’t easy.”

Allertova, 22, revealed she had been hampered by a leg injury, but said: “She played well on every point, she has got much better since we met at the French Open.

“She is going up and up and is such a good player.”

Konta continues to impress

The British number one has picked up where she left off in New York four months ago by looking totally at home on the Grand Slam stage, and again reaching the last 16.

Konta is set to break into the world’s top 40 thanks to her latest win, a huge improvement on 12 months ago when she was ranked 147th and lost in the first round of qualifying in Melbourne.

It was the third year in succession she had failed to make the main draw at the Australian Open.

Her fortunes have risen since teaming up with Spanish coaches Esteban Carril and Jose-Manuel Garcia at their training base in Gijon at the end of 2014, and beginning to work with London-based mental coach Juan Coto.

“I’m feeling pretty good – it’s amazing what adrenaline does,” said Konta.

“It just feels like I’m competing to the best of my ability and that’s all I can ask for.”

Makarova next in line

Makarova has reached semi-finals at the Australian and US Opens in the last two years

Konta again stands one win away from becoming the first British woman to reach a Grand Glam quarter-final since Durie at Wimbledon in 1984.

In New York last September, Konta fell short against the two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova over two tight sets in the US Open fourth round.

On Monday, she will take on Makarova, the world number 24 and a semi-finalist in Melbourne 12 months ago.

Konta can draw confidence from the fact that her elevation in status and belief began against Makarova – then ranked eighth – at Eastbourne last June, the Briton’s first victory over a top-10 player.

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