Australian Open 2017: Can Johanna Konta topple the might of Serena in Melbourne?

Australian Open 2017: Can Johanna Konta topple the might of Serena in Melbourne?

The British number one ninth seed faces former number one and six-time champion at Melbourne Park on Wednesday morning.

neil-leverett
Neil Leverett

After negotiating her Fourth Round match at the Australian Open on Monday morning, ninth seed and British number one Johanna Konta is set to do battle with former champion Serena Williams on Wednesday for a place in the last four at Melbourne Park.

Having dispatched 30th seed Ekaterina Makarova on Monday in straight sets 6-4, 6-1, the Briton's reward is a date with six-time winner Williams - the duo's first competitive meeting on any surface.

Konta is without doubt the form player of the moment, with a nine-match winning streak under her belt having won her second WTA title in Sydney in the build up to the first slam of 2017, less than two weeks ago.

Duo yet to drop a set

Both ladies are yet to drop a set this tournament, however the world number nine has arguably impressed more having beaten Kirsten Flipkens, Naomi Osaka before dismantling seventh seed Caroline Wozniacki and now Makarova on her way to the last eight.

With top seed and defending champion Angelique Kerber having been knocked out by Coco Vanderweghe on Sunday, Williams knows her chance is there to regain and win the crown for a seventh time.

Konta has her own incentive in aiming to repeat her feat of reaching last years semi-finals, where she lost to Kerber in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.

 

 

Baseline battle could be decisive

In what will be a clean slate for both women, the match could be set for a volley of base-line duels. Konta's power game has ramped up during the last twelve months and can now go toe-to-toe with the might of Serena.

The key to victory will be the mentality of both players. As Williams wends her way in the twilight of her career, the American has become a victim of in-game anxiety and frustration, with her powers now not so untouchable.

Konta will have her own demons to battle however, having suffered stage-fright on Rod Laver Arena twelve months ago.  

Both coaches of respective players have been complimentary in regard to Konta's chances of winning a slam. Serena's coach Patrick Mouratoglou has suggested the Briton has a real chance of winning a major in the future, but those words could prove prophetic come Wednesday morning UK time.

Konta's meteoric rise under Andrew Fitzpatrick at the start of the year has a rise into the top ten in the world. A win on Wednesday will not only catapult her further into the limelight, but could leave her just four sets from a remarkable feat and Australian Open glory.

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