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Australian OpenSportTennis

Konta downs Zhang to book Australian Open semi spot

A fired up Konta celebrates after clinching the first set

Johanna Konta ground down Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai 6-4 6-1 at the Australian Open on Wednesday to become the first British woman to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam in over 30 years.

The 47th-ranked Konta battled nerves and a wayward serve at times but overpowered the 133rd-ranked Zhang from the baseline to wrap up the match in one hour and 23 minutes on a warm, sunny afternoon at Rod Laver Arena.

After trading service breaks at the start of the second set, Konta roared to a 5-1 lead before sealing the win on the third match point with a lucky net cord that gave Zhang no chance.

The last British woman to reach the semis of a grand slam was Jo Durie at the 1983 U.S. Open. Konta will seek to continue her fairytale run when she takes on German seventh seed Angelique Kerber for a place in the final.

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