Johanna Konta continued her dream run at the Australian Open and ended Zhang Shuai's fairy tale with a straight-sets win in their quarter-final. Australia-born Brit Konta set up a semi-final meeting with Angelique Kerber courtesy of a 6-4 6-1 win over Zhang on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.
Konta, who has beaten the likes of Venus Williams and Ekaterina Makarova in Melbourne this year, made a strong start to set up her win.
Both players were in their first grand slam quarter-finals, with Zhang having only won her maiden main-draw major match at this tournament. But the Chinese qualifier – who eliminated Simona Halep and Madison Keys – struggled to create chances against the Konta serve.
Konta only put 53 per cent of first serves in, but she lost just seven of 33 points when she did. The 24-year-old was well on top when the points were kept short, winning 47 of 74 in rallies no longer than four shots.
Konta made the better start of the pair to ease out to what appeared to be a comfortable 5-2 lead.
Zhang got one of those breaks of serve back and saved a set point in the 10th game with a driving backhand winner down the line. But Konta's serve helped her out of trouble and the set was hers when Zhang was unable to return a 162km/h delivery down the tee.
The duo traded breaks to start the second set, but it was Konta who took a 2-1 advantage when Zhang pushed a forehand wide. This time, Konta capitalised and went up a double break as Zhang put a volley into the net to fall 4-1 behind.
A despondent Zhang continued battling away and saved two match points, only for a fortuitous net cord to seal Konta's win.
Konta bt Zhang 6-4 6-1
Konta - 7
Zhang - 0
Konta - 28/22
Zhang - 12/20
BREAK POINTS WON
Konta - 6/9
Zhang - 2/6
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Konta - 53
Zhang - 61
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Konta - 79/38
Zhang - 44/41
Konta - 69
Zhang - 49