Jo Konta produced one of her best ever performances at a grand slam event as she brushed aside the challenge of the talented Louisa Chirico to win only her second ever match at a grand slam. Konta out-thought and outplayed the youngster for her 6-3 6-0 win.
Konta ponces to take the first set
The match started as it would mean to go on, with both players finding themselves with break point opportunities and struggling to hold their serves. But it would be Jo Konta who would storm out of the blocks, as she broke her opponent in the first game. Chirico , the rising young American who defeated Heather Watson in the Washington Open, double faulted to gift her the opening break and looked openly nervous in her play.
But she would immediately peg the match back, with the nerves beginning to settle and the crowd naturally on her side. She raced into a 0-40 lead before some delicate touch by Konta clawed back two of the break points, but Chirico's power proved too much. The game now looked finely balanced. An easy hold for Chirico in the next game and suddenly Konta's break felt like a distant memory.
But the match would continue to swing on a pendulum, with neither player looking 100% comfortable on Court 11. Konta was playing some excellently measured tennis, creating each point with balanced strokes and only going for the winner when the opportunity presented itself. And present itself it would, when at 3-2 up in the set, Konta would race into a 0-40 lead. Chirico would save two of these, including one where the ball bounced twice on top of the net and creeped over to her side, before she sealed the break and once more had the ascendency.
Konta would have the chance to serve out the first set leading 5-4 but it proved to be a nervy game for the Brit as she snatched at the ball, handing three break back points to Chirico. But miraculously Konta would save all three and drag the game to deuce before eventually serving the game out to a Chirico error.
Sealed with a bagel
Konta breaks instantly with Chirico looking nervous yet again, playing shots which weren't there and struggling to deal with the pressure of being a wild card at her home tournament.
Chirico now looked visibly rattled, whereas Konta was playing some excellent tennis. She would stamp her authority in the next game of Chirico, where the young American was easily broken to love with Konta pouncing on the errors of her opponent.
A hold later and suddenly Konta was only two small games away from her first grand slam victory since the 2012 US Open, only three months after she had become a British citizen.
The summer months have so far proven golden for Konta who was on ther verge of taking her winning streak to nine matches in a row - on the WTA Tour - after two victories in Granby and Vancouver. But the world number 97 and British number two has endured a horrible time in grand slams and was on the verge of only her second ever victory.
And she would seal the result with ease as she served the match out to love and in truth Konta barely looked troubled after the opening period of back and fourth. Her game plan proved excellent and the inexperienced Chirico struggled to match the calmness of the Brit.
Konta's reward will now be either a match against Carina Witthoeft or a landmark game against Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza and having beaten Muguruza in their last match up only three months ago she will surely fancy her chances of taking her grand slam win tally to three.