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Tuesday, 24 January 2017 17:00 PM GMT
Konta "biggest threat" to Serena's Australian Open hopes looks ahead to the hotly-anticipated showdown between Johanna Konta and Serena Williams... READ MORE

Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou believes Britain’s Johanna Konta is the biggest threat to the American’s chances of winning a seventh Australian Open title.

The pair meet in the quarter-finals in Melbourne on Wednesday (around 2am UK time) with Konta trying to match her performance here last year, when she made the last four.

Mouratoglou said he had singled Konta out as a big threat even before she won the title in Sydney and has been hugely impressed by the Briton as she has reached the last eight without losing a set. 

“She likes this tournament, obviously, and the way she played before the Australian Open, the way she won Sydney, was great,” Mouratoglou said in an interview at Melbourne Park.

“If there is one thing to say about her it is this, she gives the feeling that there is no doubt at all. She goes for everything."

Konta will be hoping to draw on the experience of her coach, Wim Fissette, who has beaten Williams with four different players; Kim Clijsters, Sabine Lisicki, Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka.

It is a statistic the Belgian is proud of and he, as well as Konta, believe Williams can be beaten.

“Serena seems unbeatable for lots of players,” Fissette said. “But I try to make sure my player goes on court with the belief that they can win.

“I’m very happy with the way Jo has been handling the expectations, in terms of defending points. She has to prepare for the mental intimidation from Serena, she’s going to roar, but Jo has the belief.”

Leon Smith, Britain’s Davis Cup captain, said Konta was “absolutely terrific” and believes she will cause Williams problems.

“She’s aggressive, she’s got a great serve and she can back it up on the second ball after the serve, which is really important,” Smith said on Tuesday.

“She can get acute, which opens up the court, she can come forwards and finish at the net, she’s got great defence, is a great athlete and she’s got everything. She’s the real deal.

“I can’t wait to watch the match. I think it’s going to be absolutely fantastic and everyone’s looking forward to it. And it’s great to have that in the women’s game and certainly British, you’re really excited about this match. I hope people set their alarms. It’s fantastic.”

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