Johanna Konta strolled to a straight sets victory over Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round of the Australian Open, despite having to mount a comeback in the second set. This was a repeat of last year’s match at the exact same place and in the exact same round, which was much of a coincidence. However, today’s match was not as tight as last year’s match, which went to 8-6 in the third set, with Konta looking in great form.
Konta strolls to the first set victory
Makarova’s lengthy match with Dominika Cibulkova two days ago in the third round looked to have taken a toll on her as she was broken in her opening service game of the match to go down a 0-2 deficit within minutes of play. Some very consistent and strong serves by Konta then allowed her to consolidate the break of serve, hitting three aces along the way, but not without any troubles as Makarova managed to extend the game to deuce.
The Russian finally got onto the scoreboard after 15 minutes of play as the Brit’s backhand looked a little wobbly and started to gift free points to Makarova, who eventually held her serve to love. Konta’s game continued to flourish as her offensive style of tennis just proved too much for Makarova to handle as she gave away another break to lag further in the scoreboard.
The world number nine closed out the set on a perfect note as she hit an ace on her first set point after just 24 minutes, with Makarova looking out of sorts and tired.
Makarova earns big lead but gets pegged back
Makarova got off to an encouraging start to the second set as she managed to hold serve in a very tight game which saw Konta get to deuce. After both players had comfortable service holds in the following games, unexpectedly, it was the Russian who made the first breakthrough in the second set as she broke serve for the first time in the match as Konta’s backhands once again failed her to gift the lead to Makarova. The former world number eight then consolidated the break of service with a challenging service hold where she saw nerves get to her when serving a double fault on game point.Nevertheless, a forehand winner from the Russian and yet another backhand error from Konta followed, which sealed the game for Makarova as she further affirmed her lead in the scoreboard and looked to extend the match into a deciding set.
From then, there was a momentum shift as Konta earned some confidence from a service game where she held to love and used that confidence and the momentum running in her to break back and return the set on serve.
The rout continued for Makarova as Konta broke serve once more, and took the lead for the first time in the second set and also earned the chance to serve out the match. The inconsistency of Konta’s backhand almost cost her once again, as she fell to a 0-40 deficit while serving for the match to gift Makarova a great chance to level the match. However, some good serving from Konta allowed her to get back to deuce, and eventually close out the match as Makarova failed to take her chances well.
Makarova ended the match with 12 winners and a whopping amount of 20 unforced errors. Konta was a totally different case, as she had 21 winners and just 13 unforced errors, which was the crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the match. Also, Makarova was very poor in her service games as she was broken a total of four times in the match, winning 62 percent of first service points and just a mere 29 percent of second service points. The Brit won an outstanding amount of 80% first service points, coupled with 50 percent of second service points.
Next up for Konta
It would be an intriguing clash in the quarterfinals as Konta would face the legendary Serena Williams there, after defeating Barbora Strycova in her fourth round match. It would be their first meeting on the tour, and many fans would be wondering if Konta can overpower Williams, and have a chance of creating an upset. Nevertheless, the match is definitely bound to be a tight one.