Konta hopes ended by Kerber in semis

Johanna Konta

Konta lost in the first round of qualifying last year

British number one Johanna Konta’s superb Australian Open run came to an end with defeat by German seventh seed Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals.

Konta, the first British woman for 33 years to play in a Grand Slam semi-final, went down 7-5 6-2 in Melbourne.

The 24-year-old is still set to rise from 47th in the rankings to inside the world’s top 30, and will collect £370,000 in prize money.

Kerber goes on to face world number one and defending champion Serena Williams.

The American, 34, took just 64 minutes to thrash Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0 6-4 and close in on a seventh Australian Open and 22nd Grand Slam title.

Konta errors count her out

The Briton made a nervous start and despite battling back to make the first set a contest, she could not stem a flow of errors that kept the pressure off Kerber.

Konta ended the match 36 unforced errors to the German’s 11, having dropped serve five times over an hour and 22 minutes.

She looked every bit the debutante at this level as she slipped 3-0 down, with Kerber – twice a Grand Slam semi-finalist – hardly required to do anything but keep the ball in play in the early stages.

There was real hope for Konta when she found some rhythm and clawed her way back to lead 5-4, but Kerber broke again at 5-5 and would lose just two more games.

Leon Smith, GB Davis Cup captain on 5 live: “Jo should be so proud of herself, the way she’s played and handled herself. When you think where she was 12 months ago, it’s phenomenal progress. Yes, she’ll be disappointed today but she probably can’t wait to get going again.”

Jo Durie, Britain’s last female Grand Slam semi-finalist on Twitter: “Well done Angie she played good match. Proud of Jo…. she’s had a fabulous couple of weeks.”

Williams crushes Radwanska

Radwanska went into the first semi-final on a 13-match winning run, but she had lost all eight previous meetings with Williams and was again overwhelmed.

Williams is through to her 26th Grand Slam final

The American was utterly dominant in the first set, her power advantage most obvious as she demolished the 5ft 8in Pole’s serve, winning 12 of 16 return points as she took it in 20 minutes.

Williams’ form fell away in the second set, allowing Radwanska to recover from 3-1 down with four straight games that roused a crowd sympathetic to the Pole’s plight.

But Radwanska missed a forehand to drop serve at 4-4 and, despite Williams racking up 13 errors to four in the first set, she found three aces in a row on her way to serving out the match.

“I’m really excited to be in another final, it kind of blows my mind right now,” said Williams. “I feel I am playing the best I can, and I can’t believe I am in the final.”

Radwanska said: “If she’s playing her best tennis like she was playing today in the first set, it’s a big difference actually. I don’t think anyone can really play on that level.”

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