Johanna Konta missed out on reaching a maiden grand slam final after being defeated in straight sets by Angelique Kerber in the semi-final at the Australian Open in Melbourne. The seventh seed rattled off four straight games at the end of the first set and beginning of the second to prevail 7-5 6-2 and set up a first major final appearance against defending champion Serena Williams.
The first set seemed destined for a tiebreak after Konta recovered from going 4-0 down, until a string of errors from the Briton allowed Kerber to surge ahead for a second time and take the opening set. The German had lost her previous two grand slam semi-finals but stage fright was not to affect her this time and she stamped her authority on the match.
Kerber won the first two games of the second set as Konta sent a backhand long to give the world number six the initiative. There was no way back for the Sydney-born Konta, the first British female to reach a major semi-final since 1983, as Kerber claimed a second break to take her place in the final on Saturday [30 January].
"It's a really special moment, I've reached the finals for the first time," said Kerber. "I was trying to give everything today. Johanna is a great player and she will have a great future, she will win many tournaments in the future, that's for sure.
"It's great for German tennis. I'm really looking forward to playing against Serena in the final. It's just amazing. I'm really looking forward to this challenge. I must play my best tennis to have a chance against her. I will try to play the final and hopefully play good."
There was better news for Great Britain in the men's doubles however as Jamie Murray and partner Bruno Soares reached the final after beating French pair Lucas Pouille and Adrian Mannarino. Playing in their first major tournament together, the number seven seeds will face Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek in the final.