British number one Johanna Konta thrashed grand slam-winning star Venus Williams in straight sets in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne. The 24-year-old right-hander won 6-4 6-2 in the Rod Laver Arena on 19 January, breaking Williams' serve on five occasions to record a memorable win.
Konta played the match of her life in intense heat in Melbourne, while Williams struggled to cope with the energy-sapping conditions. "I'm very satisfied with how I dealt with the situation," the Sydney-born Briton said, according to the tournament's official website. "It was hot out there. I was playing an incredibly great player. That's no secret."
Konta admitted she became increasingly anxious the closer she got to victory, but was relieved to secure a memorable win against one of her childhood heroes. "Obviously, there are nerves. I just really focused on my breathing and tried to stay very present. Just very much staying with the work at hand, because it's never over until you're shaking hands."
The British star paid tribute to her American opponent, who has won numerous grand slam titles and Olympic gold medals during the course of her career. "I have all the respect for her in the world. Even if she's playing with one leg out there, you've got to really take care of things," she said.
Konta will next face Germany's Carina Witthoeft or China's Saisai Zhang in the second round.