Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Super Konta and Murray Hand Britain Rare Double; We've Got Men's and Women's Grand Slam Quarter-Finalists for the First Time in 39 Years

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Super Konta and Murray Hand Britain Rare Double; We've Got Men's and Women's Grand Slam Quarter-Finalists for the First Time in 39 Years

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Newman in Melbourne

BRITAIN will have a man and a woman in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in 39 years after Andy Murray and Johanna Konta maintained their winning momentum here today at the Australian Open.

Shortly after Konta reached the last eight of a Slam for the first time by beating Ekaterina Makarova 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 in a gripping contest that lasted more than three hours, Murray joined her by beating Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4, 7-6. The last time Britain had a man and a woman in the last eight of the singles at a Slam was in 1977, when Sue Barker, Robin Drysdale and John Lloyd all reached the quarter-finals. If Murray's was the more comfortable of the two victories, it was still a great achievement bearing in mind the stress that he has been through since his father-in-law, Nigel Sears, collapsed here on Saturday evening. "The last few days were very, very tough," Murray admitted.

Konta provided a reminder of both her new-found mental strength and her physical toughness as she survived a marathon match that lasted more than three hours to become the first British woman to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for 32 years.

The 24-year-old Briton overcame the disappointments of losing the first set and failing to serve out for victory at the first attempt to earn a quarter-final meeting with the winner of the fourth-round match between Madison Keys, of the US, and China's Shuai Zhang.

"Three hours and four minutes," Konta corrected her questioner in her post-match interview after being asked how she had won after such a gruelling "three-hour" battle. "Trust me, those four minutes count."

She added: "I definitely left it all out on court. I really just tried to hang in there and run after every single ball and just keep fighting on every single point because that's all I can do. I feel fortunate enough that I was able to capitalise on some opportunities and close it out."

ing " Konta reached the fourth round of the US Open last year, becoming only the second British woman to do so since 1991, but has surpassed that effort here. She is the first British woman through to the last eight Down Under since Jo Durie in 1983. Durie was also the last British woman to reach the quater-finals of any Slam, at Wimbledon in 1984.

t man der o quarmy bt e After her latest victory Konta is expected to climb next week from her current position at No47 in the world rankings to a careerhigh No32, though she will rise even further if she extends her winning run.

Having beaten Makarova in their only previous meeting last summer, Konta had every reason for confidence. Once again she struck the ball consistently, served well, covered the court with superb athleticism and constructed her points with great maturity. …

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