After winning the Apia International Sydney title in the build-up to Melbourne, British Johanna Konta is going strong at the season’s first Grand Slam, demolishing former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the third round, 6-3 6-1. Displaying her best game, the ninth-ranked Konta made Wozniacki look like a low-ranked player by winning nine consecutive games from 2-3 in the first set to 5-0 in the second set. In the first set, Konta hit 20 winners to Wozniacki’s one, but it’s not that the 17th-seeded Dane played horribly, rather, the 25-year-old Konta was very aggressive, powerful and precise.
In the fourth round, Konta will face seed No.30 Ekaterina Makarova, who eliminated sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova in a 6-2 6-7(3) 6-3 marathon, despite wasting a 4-0 40-30 lead in the second set.
Serena Williams, Konta’s potential quarterfinal opponent, didn’t have to fire up even half of her engines to dispatch fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6-1 6-3. The second seed’s fourth-round opponent will be seed No.16 Barbora Strycova, who beat Caroline Garcia 6-2 7-5 and stated this about her next obstacle: “She’s human, and she is beatable. This is a Grand Slam, and we are talking that she already won, but I don’t like these talks.”
After upsetting Agnieszka Radwanska in the previous round, thirty-four-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni advanced to the last 16 for the first time with a 3-6 6-2 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari. Next up for her is American qualifier Jennifer Brady, who followed up her second-round win over Heather Watson by defeating 14th seed Elena Vesnina 7-6(4) 6-2. (photo: Jimmie48)