Konta in tears but progress evident

From ESPN

Johanna Konta broke down in tears after her Australian Open ended with a quarterfinal demolition by Serena Williams.

Konta looked set to test the American following her superb run in form, but the British No. 1 was outclassed Wednesday on Rod Laver Arena, as she went down 6-2, 6-3.

It is a mark of how far Konta has come that she agonised over the defeat, given she was playing only her second last-eight Grand Slam match; her opponent was playing her 47th.

"I was crying, so I'm a bit blocked up. I cry too," said Konta, who was Britain's last hope at the Melbourne tournament.

"I cried because I'm generally quite an emotional person. I've never hid that. I've worked incredibly hard to direct that emotion into a positive and a constructive way on court, but off court, I'm still very emotional."

Konta held her own from time to time, but she was never able to sustain any momentum.

After the match, Williams paid tribute to her opponent by dubbing Konta a future Australian Open champion.

"That's nice, I will do my best," Konta said later. "It was probably one of the best experiences of my life. There's so many things I can learn from that, so many things I can look to improve on, also acknowledge some things that I did well.

"Credit to her, she played an almost perfect first set. I felt she really did incredibly well. She just showed why she is who she is."

Williams' first serve was not prolific but lethal, with Konta able only to win three of the 26 points when it found its target.

Konta's game also seemed well-suited to Williams, who can struggle against more crafty opponents but seemed to enjoy her powerful baseline hitting.

"I definitely would have liked to have had a bit more say in the match than I did," Konta said. "But unfortunately, that's also so much to do with Serena, the kind of tennis that she plays.

"I don't think there's one player on tour that goes up against her and feels like they've got much of a say in the matches."

Konta said she also found it difficult to relax.

"I may have put a little too much expectation and pressure on myself, and not given enough credit to the situation," Konta said.

Williams' hopes of sealing an Open-era 23rd Grand Slam title, and her seventh at Melbourne Park, remain very much intact, while a ninth major final meeting with her sister Venus is also a possibility.

The most prestigious siblings in tennis show no signs of fading; this is the first time in the Open era that two players aged 35 or older have reached the final four at the same Grand Slam.

Serena will meet Croatia's surprise success Mirjana Lucic-Baroni next, while Venus will face fellow American Coco Vandeweghe in the other semifinal.

Written by Tim Strawn

Owner, IART

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