MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Johanna Konta’s exhilarating run at the Australian Open was finally halted by Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals on Thursday, but the Briton leaves Melbourne Park “hungry” for more grand slam success.
On her main draw debut in Melbourne, the world number 47 became the first British woman into the last four of a grand slam in over 30 years and only the third in Australia in the professional era after Virginia Wade and Sue Barker.
On the way, she knocked out Venus Williams and last year’s semi-finalist Ekaterina Makarova, so she was philosophical about her 7-5 6-2 loss to German seventh seed Kerber at Rod Laver Arena.
“I don’t think I missed an opportunity. I played against a better player today who earned her right into a grand slam final,” the Sydney-born 24-year-old told reporters.
“That’s how I view it. She played a really, really good match. That’s why she is the winner and I’m not today.
“But I’m really taking a lot of positive things from it. I’m really hungry to keep improving and keep enjoying what I’m doing. So that’s where I’m at.”
Konta showed nerves early against Kerber with eight unforced errors in the opening two games and conceded a 3-0 lead.
But she hit back to win the next four games and battled hard in a tight first set before the German sprinted away to wrap up the match in 82 minutes.
Konta’s rise over the last 12 months has been a revelation. Her last trip to Melbourne Park ended at qualifying when she was ranked 147th in the world.
The Eastbourne resident plans a full schedule to continue her progression but was not getting bogged down in tangible goals.
“I look to be the best I can be. Like I keep saying, I don’t look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘You’re number this in the world’,” she said.
“That’s not how I view my career and my life. I just will go back, keep working hard, keep improving the things that I want to improve and keep enjoying what I’m doing.”
(By Ian Ransom, Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)