Australian Open: Johanna Konta beats China's Zheng Saisai

Konta enjoying entertaining crowd
Australian Open
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 18-31 January
Coverage: Live radio and text commentary on all Andy Murray matches. Listen to Tennis Breakfast on Radio 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport website from 07:00 GMT every day.

British number one Johanna Konta reached the third round of the Australian Open with an impressive win over China's Zheng Saisai in Melbourne.

Konta, ranked 47th in the world - 36 places higher than her opponent, won 6-2 6-3 and will next face Czech Denisa Allertova, who beat Sabine Lisicki.

The Sydney-born Briton had never won a match in the main draw at the Australian Open before this year.

Britain's men's number one Andy Murray beat Sam Groth later on Thursday.

Konta keeps up the momentum

The Eastbourne-based 24-year-old made a huge breakthrough at the US Open in September by reaching the fourth round, and she has continued that Grand Slam form at Melbourne Park.

Konta upset world number 10 Venus Williams in the opening round on Tuesday and backed up that fine win with a solid performance against Zheng.

The pair were meeting for the second time, with Konta having won in French Open qualifying two years ago, and she moved 3-1 ahead thanks to some aggressive returning.

Zheng pressed hard but could not convert a handful of break points and dropped serve once again as Konta took the first set in 37 minutes.

Some wayward volleying saw Konta fail to capitalise on two early chances in the second set, but the relentless pressure of her groundstrokes told two games later as she again broke for 3-1.

She finally dropped serve, to love, while serving for the match at 5-1 before wrapping up victory after one hour and 22 minutes.

"There were definitely some nerves at the end," said Konta.

"I was very happy I was able to keep it together, there's so much tension out there. I'm just happy I was able to deal with it the best I could and come through."

Zheng Saisai
Zheng is China's highest-ranked woman at 83 in the world

'We are entertainers'

Konta, who became a British citizen in 2012, was watched by a sizeable crowd on court eight.

"I had a lot of support," she told BBC Radio 5 live. "It is a real pleasure to play in front of people who enjoy and you are able to entertain. At the end of the day we are entertainers.

"I saw a lot of British flags and heard British accents after the match.

"I have not had much time for anything. My sister lives in Australia and will be coming to visit me at the weekend. The most I have done is gone to the supermarket to pick up my breakfast for the next morning."

Third-round opponent Allertova knocked Konta out of the French Open in the first round last year.

The match, which went to a final set, included a first-set tie-break which lasted a record 36 points.

"We hold the record, unfortunately I lost," said Konta. "We had a great match. I remember it was long. I lost the first set in that tie-break, won the second and lost the third. New match, new day."

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