By Marcus Ally
Eastbourne’s Johanna Konta took apart 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams 6-1 6-0 in just 53 minutes at the Silicon Valley Classic on Tuesday night.
Condemning the American to the worst defeat of her career, and becoming the first Brit ever to beat her in the process.
Williams had never lost a match without winning at least two games previously and though not at her best, it was still a remarkable display from the world No 48 Konta, in her first encounter on a hard court since March. The British No 1 hit 17 winners, as Williams suffered her first bagel since 2014.
Konta, who bowed out at Wimbledon in the second round last month, was respectful of her fellow former Stanford Classic champion after the win.
“I tried to put aside the incredible champion she is and just play the player of the day, I felt I did better than her on the day but it’s still a humbling experience to be out here with her.”
There was no over-confidence as Konta remained focused on what is to come, she had been training in California ahead of this event in recent weeks and will be hoping that hard work will pay dividends as she progresses this week.
“I don’t believe in big bang moments, or magic moments where the fingers click and it all comes together, I believe in continuous hard work and everyday perseverance, putting in the work and trusting the process. All this match has given me is the chance to play another one. I’m grateful for that opportunity and will work hard.
“Besides being the greatest player of all time, what makes her (Williams) that is how she competes. I had to stay focused on every point because it could have turned at any moment.”
Konta will be favourite to progress into the last eight as she plays Williams’ compatriot and teenager Sofia Kenin, world No 68, in the second round tonight (Wednesday, not before 11pm UK time) in the pairs first ever meeting.
The 19-year-old American came through her first round match in straight sets against the world no.126, Veronica Cepede.
With fourth seed Elise Mertens of Belgium likely to await the winner in the quarter final.