Konta aiming to make British history

Johanna Konta

Konta is the first British woman to make the Australian Open fourth round since 1987.

Johanna Konta will aim to become the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final since 1984 when she takes on Ekaterina Makarova at the Australian Open on Monday.

Jo Durie made it to Wimbledon’s last eight in 1984, but no British female has gone as far at a major since.

Should the British number one beat the Russian, Konta will match Durie’s feat.

Konta, 24, has beaten Makarova – a player ranked 23 places above her – in their only previous meeting.

That victory in Eastbourne in June was the Sydney-born player’s first victory over a top-10 player and sparked her rise into the world’s top 40.

Makarova, 27, reached the semi-finals at last year’s Australian Open and the quarter-finals in 2012 and 2013, but Konta is in the form of her life.

She beat former world number one Venus Williams in the first round in Melbourne and has defeated five top-20 players since reaching the fourth round at last year’s US Open.

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Australian Open: Johanna Konta aims to continue historic form

In defeating Czech Denisa Allertova, Konta became the British woman to make the fourth round of the Australian Open since Jo Durie and Anne Hobbs in 1987.

Former world number five Durie has been impressed by Konta’s performances, saying of her chances of reaching the last eight: “Jo can definitely do it and I wouldn’t be sad at all.”

Meanwhile, Konta has said she was aware of the increased interest in her, but said she would remain down to earth.

“It’s as big as you make it, really, and it becomes as important as you want it to. It’s very much not the focus point of my career,” said Konta, who moved to England with her family in 2005.

“It would be very unrealistic for me to stick my head in the sand and say: ‘This doesn’t exist’.

“I’m down to earth: I understand. 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.”

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