World No 9 Johanna Konta cruised into the Australian Open quarter-finals where she meets 22-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams, and Konta says she will cherish every moment.
The Brit bulldozed her way through to the quarters after making light work of Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-4 in 68 minutes.
Konta hasn’t dropped a set at Melbourne park – dominating all eight she’s been involved in, and the 25-year-old admitted she can’t allow herself to be affected by the pressure, and to simply embrace an incredible opportunity.
“I think every part of Serena’s game is great so probably I can’t put too much pressure on any certain part of my game,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to going out there and really immersing myself into the competition, immersing myself into that match against her and just try to apply myself the best I can and stay focused.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and just looking forward to competing. I’m really happy to still be here.”
Konta’s form approaching arguably her biggest platform to date, has been nothing short of remarkable – the Brit won 80% of points contested from her first serve against Makarova, and boasts 83% of net points won in her fourth-round tie.
If Serena Williams is indeed beatable at this year’s Australian Open, many think Konta is the woman to halt Williams from breaking Steffi Graf’s 22 Grand Slam record.
Due to Konta’s astonishing rise in recent years – in 2015 Konta was ranked at 150, both women have never played each other.
Great Britain’s Fed Cup team captain Anne Keothavong, said playing Serena Williams is a daunting experience, as mentally, she’s already broke you during the warm-up.
Konta appears to relish one of sport’s greatest obstacles in finding a way to beat the American, and admitted it’s an honour to be playing one of her idols.
“Obviously, Serena Williams doesn’t need an introduction,” she said. “I get to play arguably the best tennis player we have ever had.
“She’s one of the few players still playing that I watched growing up. As a young girl wanting to be a professional tennis player, honestly it’s an incredible honour and I can’t wait to share the court with her.”
Williams took one hour and 45 minutes to overcome world No 16 Barbora Strycova 7-5 6-4 to reach the last eight. The 35-year-old, like Konta, has won every set she’s played at the 2017 Australian Open.
When asked on her opinion of Konta, the six-time Australian Open champion said: “She’s been doing really, really well. She has a very attacking game. I look forward to it. I have absolutely nothing to lose in this tournament, everything here is a bonus for me.”