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Johanna Konta has stern test ahead to make Australian Open semi-finals

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Johanna Konta has become the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final in 39 years after defeating Ekaterina Makarova on Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open on Monday.

The 24-year-old, who is making her debut in the main draw, fought back from a set down to beat the Russian 4-6 6-4 8-6 and progress from the last 16 stage.

KONTA MAKES BRITISH HISTORY

Jo Durie was the last Briton to reach the final eight of a major tournament at Wimbledon in 1984, and Konta has equalled her effort without dropping a set until her fourth round contest with Makarova.

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Born in Sydney, Konta has breezed past Venus Williams, Saisai Zheng and Denisa Allertova on route to the quarter-finals and will contest a spot in the semi-finals against Chinese qualifier Shuai Zhang, who defeated an injury-hampered Madison Keys 3-6 6-3 6-3 in her fourth round tie.

KONTA TO FACE ZHANG IN QUARTER-FINALS

Zhang, who has climbed as high as 30th in the WTA rankings, is also enjoying something of a fairytale run at the 2016 Australian Open having failed to make it past the first round in her previous four appearances in the main draw of the Melbourne event.

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The 27-year-old will likely provide a tough test for the surprise package of the tournament, having knocked out two experienced campaigners earlier in the tournament.

Zhang claimed the scalp of Romanian second seed Simona Halep 6-4 6-3 in the first round before overcoming Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 3-6 3-6 in round two. She then eased past American Varvara Lepchenko 6-1 6-3 before continuing her stunning run with an impressive win over Keys.

HOW FAR CAN KONTA GO?

Konta remains an outsider to lift the 2016 Australian Open crown, and with names like Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka potentially standing in her way, it would require a monumental effort if she were to become the first British champion since Virginia Wade in 1972.

2016 Australian Open - Day 9

If Konta manages to defeat Zhang in their quarter-final matchup, she would then take on either Angelique Kerber or Victoria Azarenka for a place in the last eight — a daunting prospect to say the least.

KERBER AND AZARENKA AWAIT IN THE SEMIS

The German has been in inspired form in Melbourne, boasting an unblemished straight sets record since escaping a tight first round encounter with Misaki Doi of Japan.

Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion in 2012 and 2013, is also at her dominant best, conceding just 11 games in total on her path to the quarters.

TENNIS-AUS-OPEN

KONTA COULD STRUGGLE AGAINST BIG GUNS

Konta is certainly in with a decent shout of surpassing Zhang, but with her two prospective semi-final opponents playing some of the best tennis they can offer, the British number one has her work cut out to write her name in the history books.

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Australian Open

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