Konta reaches Australian Open last eight
Originally published on 25/01/16 00:00
The 24-year-old defeated the Russian lefthander, a semi-finalist in Melbourne last year, 4-6 6-4 8-6 to become the first British woman to reach a major quarter-final since Jo Durie at Wimbledon in 1984.
Konta, who was ranked No.144 in the world and lost in the first round of qualifying here 12 months ago, is making her main draw debut at Melbourne Park.
After dropping the opening set, Konta maintained her composure to level proceedings before digging deep to close out the match after three hours and four minutes on Margaret Court Arena.
"It was definitely one of the more spectacular matches I've played," said Konta. "I still remember a junior match I played and lost 12-10 in the third. That's definitely still in my mind."
Konta has enjoyed a sensational 12 months, breaking first into the Top 100 after winning back-to-back ITF titles in Canada last summer before a run to the US Open fourth round as a qualifier, upsetting Garbine Muguruza and Andrea Petkovic before eventually falling to Petra Kvitova. Further wins against Petkovic, Victoria Azarenka and Simona Halep in Asia saw Konta surge up the rankings, overtaking Heather Watson as British No.1.
But Konta, who upset No.8 seed Venus Williams in the first round, insists there was no 'lightbulb' moment of inspiration and instead it has been a steady journey from the moment she first picked up a tennis racket.
"I've always said I do not believe in kind of a light switch moment," she said. "Everything happens for a reason. My journey has been the way it has been for a reason. That is to accumulate the experiences that I've had.
"Obviously it's no secret that given the opportunities to play at a high level, definitely it gives you momentum. Win or lose, if you feel competitive in that environment, you do take positive things from that. It's an ongoing process."