Johanna Konta claims biggest scalp of her career by beating Venus Williams

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Football News

British number one Johanna Konta recorded the biggest win of her career as she knocked childhood hero Venus Williams out of the Australian Open.

Konta, who was born in Sydney and represented Australia until 2012, returned to the same court where she practised as a youngster to beat Williams 6-4 6-2.

While the American was making her 16th appearance in the Australian Open main draw, this was Konta's first but it was the Briton who was in control for all of the one hour and 19 minutes in Rod Laver Arena.

Williams, now 35, was jaded and far from her assertive best but this was no one-off for Konta, who adds the seven-time major champion to a growing list of top-20 scalps that now includes Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Elena Makarova and Andea Petkovic.

"I have all the respect for Venus in the world. I was just really enjoying my time out there," said Konta, who now plays China's Saisai Zheng in round two.

"I think it would be silly to look at Venus' age and somehow consider that as a reflection of her level.

"I think it's irrelevant how old she is because she's such a champion with so much experience and so much knowledge about the game.

"Even if she's playing with one leg out there, you've got to really take care of things on your own because she's an incredible player."

Konta wrapped up the first set in 41 minutes before storming into a 5-0 lead in the second.

A late wobble, which used to be a regular feature of her game, made the score respectable but there was to be no comeback for Williams as Konta finally served out.

"Obviously there are nerves, and also the nerves of the many thousand people around you, which is impossible not to feel either," Konta said.

"So I was just really focusing on my breathing and just trying to stay very present because it's never over until you're shaking hands."

Konta is Britain's lone female left in the women's draw after Heather Watson's defeat on Monday and one of two overall, joining Andy Murray in the last 64.

Aljaz Bedene, Britain's number two who has switched nationality from Slovenia, lost 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7/3) to America's Steve Johnson while qualifier Dan Evans was also beaten in straight sets, defeated 6-1 6-0 6-4 to Feliciano Lopez, the eighth seed from Spain.

Bedene, ranked 49th in the world, said he found the speed of the courts difficult to handle.

"I didn't really settle. It was way too quick for my game," Bedene said. "I don't really like the quick surfaces like here. I am disappointed."

Evans was more upbeat, the 25-year-old having come through qualifying to make his first ever appearance in the Australian Open main draw.

"Leaving here is all positive I think," Evans said. "Today I just didn't get my game out but it's one day out of however many I have been away from home, training every day and practising well.

"I wasn't holding serve, I was getting nowhere near his serves. It was just a bit of a step up in level. It was a bit of a learning curve."

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