Johanna Konta annihilates former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki to reach Australian Open last 16

Konta powered her way past world No 20 Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1 in just 75 minutes to further strengthen her title credentials

Tom Allnutt
Melbourne
Saturday 21 January 2017 10:59
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Johanna Konta dispatched Caroline Wozniacki with ease in their Australian Open third round encounter
Johanna Konta dispatched Caroline Wozniacki with ease in their Australian Open third round encounter

Johanna Konta's Australian Open charge shows no sign of slowing after the British number one annihilated Caroline Wozniacki to make the last 16.

Konta is ranked only 11 spots higher than world number 20 Wozniacki but she exposed a considerable gulf in class on Margaret Court Arena to win 6-3 6-1 in just 75 minutes.

After her opening three rounds in Melbourne, Konta is yet to drop a set and continues to show why many are picking her as a genuine contender for the title.

She now faces Russian world number 34 Ekaterina Makarova, whom she beat 4-6 6-4 8-6 here last year, with the winner likely to earn a quarter-final showdown with Serena Williams.

On paper this appeared a tricky third round for Konta given Wozniacki, a former world number one, has staged something of a resurgence in recent months, having reached the semi-finals of the US Open in September.

An awesome display of power-hitting, however, simply proved too strong for the Dane as Konta cracked 31 winners and won nine games in a row across the first and second sets.

"I definitely played a very high level today, I'm very happy to come through that," Konta said on court afterwards.

"Caroline makes you work for it - you have to win it, she doesn't give it you.

"I knew it was going to be a tough one, I wanted to from the get-go, assert myself and make sure I started and finished the match the way I wanted to play."

Born in Sydney, Konta is facing growing determination from Australian fans to claim her as one of their own.

Wozniacki suffered defeat in just 75 minutes by Konta

Asked about the local crowd's strong support, Konta said: "That's an awkward conversation."

The opening exchanges were a matter simply of attack against defence as Konta leathered the ball from side to side while Wozniacki darted about the baseline, desperate for her opponent to miss.

Her problem was that while there was the odd error, including one framed smash into the backboard, Konta was missing far fewer than she hit.

For a while it was competitive, the scuttling Wozniacki just about holding her own five metres behind the baseline, but it seemed only a matter of time before Konta made her dominance count.

At 3-3, the contest's last even juncture, the winner count stood at 13-1 in the Briton's favour.

Konta will face world No 34 Ekaterina Makarova in the last 16

From then on, it was a procession, or at least a stampede of Konta stroke-play as one brilliantly angled backhand and then a driving forehand volley snatched the break for a 4-3 lead.

It was just the second notch in a nine-game winning streak for Konta, who sealed the opening set before storming into a 5-0 advantage in the second.

When a deflated Wozniacki finally registered the crowd gave her a sympathetic cheer. But Konta showed no mercy, serving out the next game to complete an impressive victory.

PA

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