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Johanna Konta advances to Australian semis

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The Sports Xchange
Great Britain's Johanna Konta. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI.
Great Britain's Johanna Konta. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI. | License Photo

Johanna Konta became the first British woman to make a Grand Slam semifinal in 33 years, defeating Chinese qualifier Shuai Zhang 6-4, 6-1 in a quarterfinal match at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Her semifinal opponent will be seventh-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany, a 6-3, 7-5 winner vs. 14th-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, a two-time Australian Open singles champ.

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"It will be my first match against Angelique, she's top 10, she's an incredibly decorated and successful competitor and player," Konta said. "I'm really just hoping to go out there and bring to the court what I can, try my best and see how it goes."

Konta, a 24-year-old who was born in Australia but represents the United Kingdom on tour, opened the 2015 season ranked No. 148 in the world. After she posted her best major-tournament result, a fourth-round loss at the U.S. Open last summer, she was ranked 47th entering play in Melbourne last week.

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The last British woman in a major semifinal was Jo Durie in the 1983 U.S. Open.

In the opening round in Australia, Konta upset eighth-seeded Venus Williams, and she has lost just one set in her five-match run to the semis. Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, the 21st seed, fell 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 to Konta in the fourth round.

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On Wednesday, Konta served seven aces to none for Zhang, and she posted a decisive 28-12 edge in winners.

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"She didn't make it easy for me today," Konta said. "Every time I got ahead, she was constantly there."

Azarenka was done in by 33 unforced errors, while Kerber gave away just 16 points.

In men's singles quarterfinals later Wednesday, second-seeded Andy Murray of Scotland was due to play eighth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain, and 13th-seeded Milos Raonic was set to face 23rd-seeded Gael Monfils of France.

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