Katherine Downes with highlights from the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. In 2016, Great Britain had two Grand Slam singles semi-finalists for the first time since 1977.
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Good afternoon and thanks for joining us for the highlights from
Melbourne. And there have been plenty of them today. Johanna Konta
has been dreaming about this day for her whole career, the chance to take
on her childhood hero on the big stage. That hero is none other than
the great Serena Williams, the biggest challenge in the women's
game. So, quite a task ahead for Jo Konta. With Andy Murray out, she
carries the wake of British expectation. Quite a responsibility.
Is she up for it? What do we know about Johanna Konta? Controlled
aggression all the way through for Johanna Konta...
Absolute masterclass from Johanna Konta. The amazing start to need
2017 continues! As a young girl wanting to be a professional tennis
player, it is an incredible honour, and I cannot wait to share the court
with her. It is Serena Williams, irresistible, majestic, in a class
of her own. Serena celebrates, and why not? Jo
Konta is no rookie. She is ranked ninth in the world, and Serena
Williams of course needs no introduction. 22 time Grand Slam
champion. But remarkably, this will be the first time these two players
have faced each other, a leap into the unknown for both players. The
stuff of dreams on court for Johanna Konta today. And the winner will
play all move, who is living her own fairy tale. She all but gave up
tennis for a period of three years. It has taken her the best part of a
decade to battle her way back. But here she is beating you McGeachie in
the quarterfinals. 19 years ago, she last won goal at the open. And that
was who was interviewing her after this latest victory. Like I said the
other day, one day I will say a long story about things that happened to
me. But I could never dream about being here again! This is just...
I know this means a lot to every player, to reach the semifinals, but
to me, this is overwhelming, I will never, ever forget this day and this
last couple of weeks. This has truly made my life and everything bad that
happened, it has made it OK. Just a fact that I was this strong and it
was worth fighting this harder. It's really incredible. It is wonderful
to see how much it means and how hard she had worked for it. So,
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is into the last four, as is Venus Williams. It
means there is only one match left to complete the semifinal line-up.
It is hard to imagine what was going through Johanna Konta's mind as she
made the long walk to the court. Her coach had said a lot would depend on
which of the many faces of Serena Williams turned up on court. At her
cool, calm best, Serena might prove unbeatable. So, which Serena would
it be? We will join the first set at 1-1.
She has worked with a lot of great players, and the greatest in my
book, Margaret Court, in attendance today. Of course she did not work
with HER, let's be quite clear about that! 24 Majors for Margaret Court.
Margaret, an incredible athlete, tall, when you stand next to her for
the first time. Athleticism playing as much a part of the sport back
then as it does now. Even more so now.
Margaret Court won here 11 times. Digest that for a few minutes. I
will, thanks! 11, it's incredible! That is Serena at her very best!
Even though Konta lost that point, I like where she's standing, right up
on the baseline, going to two-tone with Serena Williams. It's just that
last shot that Serena has, just a little bit more firepower on eight.
-- on it. Struggling to make a first serve at
the moment. And pays the price. When you've got
someone like Konta, who takes the ball early and can return like that,
it will just continue to add the pressure.
There you go. The baseline position is so important, to take time away
from one of the greatest feats this sport has ever seen. First couple of
games in this first set will determine how this match will play
out, we said, and it's good signs for Konta early on. She's got a
break point. You can hear what Serena is saying - get a first serve
in! It gives you a good idea of what an important cornerstone that is in
her game. Serve well, play well. Into the top 20 just before
Wimbledon steer, Konta. The first British woman to do so in almost 30
years. -- just before Wimbledon last year.
Once again, punishing a Williams second serve. Just that added depth
on the return which allows Konta to get shorter response.
UMPIRE: Advantage, Williams. That's two missed returns. Konta has to
take those opportunities. And what a difference that first
serve makes. Makes this sport a lot easier, when you're getting free
points, like that. Williams survives.
Serving from the tougher end, looking directly into the sun. It
will be tough for the next 45 minutes or so. Wow!
Konta served very well in her match against Makarova. However, against
Serena Williams, she has to add a bit more placement on that second
serve. Tell you what, when Serena starts to
hit a forehand well, you'd better watch out.
What was so impressive, which numbers in particular in her
previous match? Well, on her first serve, she did go in, Konta, and she
won those points 80% of the time. It goes to show, when you can start
with a big first serve, Konta, who likes to be aggressive, it's almost
always going in her favour. And that is supposedly the less
reliable side for Serena. She's striping it at the moment. She's got
herself two break points early on. Always helps when you can win free
points of that first serve. They're like gold dust. Two aces apiece so
far. UMPIRE: Game, Williams. She's
looking rock-solid from the back of the court, Williams.
STUDIO: Which Serena would walk out on court? We have our answer. Konta
was broken again and ended up losing the first set 6-2. Into the second
set, with Serena leading 1-0. This really is a must buy from hold
for Johanna Konta. She cannot to let this second set slip away quickly.
She was giving it the old sabre there. Why not, when you're
training? -- trailing? For once, unable to manufacture
something. Just reminding herself to get that
net clearance. Always want to get that might have passed the first
obstacle, any good coach will tell you. -- get that ball past the first
optical. Matty Done! She waited for the
shorter opportunity, Konta. She hasn't had many short responses from
Serena Williams, but she took a traffic. Serena, applauding her
efforts. -- she took advantage of it.
That's a big hold, isn't it? In the circumstances. Going back to 0-40,
that was a crucial point. It was an absolute must-hold for Konta. Well
done. They're the returns I would love
Konta to make. She's not missing them by much. It could add so much
value to this game. A big body blow if Williams gets
broken, she was up 0-40 in the previous game, 40-15 in this one.
The first serve has just deserted her.
That is where the frustration is coming from. Williams having a
number of opportunities to take the lead here in the second set. Three
of 13 first serves, only 23% of them.
Johanna Konta has stolen another game from right underneath Serena
Williams' nose. STUDIO: So, Konta fighting back
against the champion, the next two games went with serve, so here is
Konta serving at 3-2. COMMENTATOR: Serena dominated the
opening set, serving big, hardly making any unforced error s, plenty
of winners. She was up 40-15 in her next service
game, got broken. So that is where we are.
This is where Konta has to work even harder than she has in the second
set to not let this lead slip away. She has to pick the right moment to
dictate play on. And just like that, it's three more
break points for Serena. The raw athleticism at its very
best. There is that flat one again. She
just wants 10% slice on it, and I think she will make more.
Williams is currently serving at 32%, but when she has got her first
serve in, which has been on seven occasions in this second set, she
has been successful every single time in terms of winning the point.
Great off the ball movement from Konta.
A very aggressive second serve, just enough on it to get the error.
Dropping the hammer. The serve comes to the rescue. 4-3, Serena leads,
second set. Girls' day out by the looks of it. It is a perfect day to
witness some fantastic tennis. The sun is out, hats out.
Just a couple of times Konta not getting her feet in the right
position, also off that backhand side.
Just solid tennis from Serena Williams.
UMPIRE: Game, set and match Williams.
A great start for 2017 for Johanna Konta, and she will get a lot of
feedback from playing Serena for the first time, she will no what she
needs to work on, where she needs to get a little better, but of course
with that win today, Serena with Venus representing the first time in
the open era to players aged 35 or older have reached the semifinal at
a Grand Slam. But is pretty cool. They were there at the beginning and
they are still going strong in the latter stages of their respective
careers. Joe came into this tournament having won Sydney, she
has been playing fabulous tennis. I was in the locker room watching her
win, and she is doing so well, so she is definitely a future champion
here for sure, so I was happy to be able to get through that. I don't
know if you saw the next match, and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, what is up
with you guys? 34, 35, Venus is 36, girls in their 30s are happening! It
Israeli amazing, 30s is the new ten! I am so ploughed of Mirjana -- so
proud of Mirjana, it is so great to see her back out here, playing in
the semifinal, it is so inspiring for me, and no matter what happens,
some 134 or all do will be in the final, so that is great!
STUDIO: There must be something in the water in Melbourne, the veterans
seeing off the youngsters. Serena Williams' serve too much for Johanna
Konta, but Jo is positive. So much of the matches on her terms, and I
think having good acceptance of that and acknowledging that sometimes you
are not doing anything wrong, it is just the quality of player that she
is and the competitor that she is, so I think having better acceptance
of that, and also staying a bit, and more perspective when you do get the
opportunities, and not feeling too stressed that that is the only one
you are going to get. And she has said that you will win the title one
day, you have to win seven matches to do that, but generally would you
say that here and New York at the US Open are your best chances for a
Grand Slam? I hope that I will be able to play great tennis at all of
the slams on all of the surfaces, it would be nice to be able to say
that. All I can do is focus on the work, all I can do is look to keep
trying to get better, and hopefully one day if it is on the cards for
me, I will get my chance. So, this is how the semifinals line-up now,
Serena through to play Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, a 35 you rolled
against a 34-year old, while 36-year-old Venus Williams meet
Vandeweghe, a junior in comparison at 26! Now let's bring you the
wheelchair events, and there has been a shock, because offending
champion Gordon Reid is out of the men's singles, losing in three sets
to Gerard, the man he beat in last year's final. And Alfie Hewett is
also out, Lucy Shuker has reached the finals of the women's event.
Grigor Dimitrov remains unbeaten in 2017, he beat David Goffin in
straight sets to reach the semis, and Rafael Nadal's comeback
continues, he beat Milos Raonic in straight sets and is through to his
first Grand Slam semi since 2014. Raonic now says his participation in
next trick's Davis Cup tie against Braid Great Britain is very much up
in the air, he had been named in the Canadian team. The semifinal line-up
is now completed, it is a bit like turning back the clock, with Serena
and Venus through, and Rafa and Roger still going strong. Tomorrow
Roger takes on Stan in and also is tied, they have won Olympic together
and the Davis Cup together, but now it is each man himself, 12 years
after the first of their 21 meetings. And we will bring you that
on BBC Two from 5pm, commentary on Radio 5Live from 7am tomorrow as
well. And the world indoor Bowls Championships continue in Hopton on
set, live on the red button from 10am, and then from one o'clock here
on BBC Two as well. So it wasn't a beaver Johanna Konta,
today it has been a Grand Slam of surprises so far, Djokovic out, and
underdogs like Dan Evans and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni triumphing against the
odds. -- it wasn't to be for Johanna Konta. She was served up a
masterclass in Melbourne today, a sora mind that Serena is still
supreme. Thanks for watching. Goodbye.
To break someone physically... Agh! ..is not a problem.
Katherine Downes introduces highlights from the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Victories for Johanna Konta and Andy Murray at this stage in 2016 gave Great Britain two Grand Slam singles semi-finalists for the first time since 1977.