MELBOURNE, Australia - 2016 semifinalist Johanna Konta raced through a much-anticipated collision with former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, 6-3, 6-1, to return to the second week at the Australian Open.
"Against someone like Caroline, she's not going to give it to you," she said in her post-match press conference. "You really do have to earn it and win it till the very last point. I'm just very happy I was able to keep that pressure on."
Konta rode a seven-match winning streak into the third round in Melbourne, having captured her second career WTA title at the Apia International Sydney last week.
"I think I had a longer streak a couple years ago. Still got awhile to go till then," she said, referring to a 16 match winning streak she compiled in the summer of 2015 between the ITF and WTA circuits. "But I'm very pleased with how I've just been able to problem solve in the last matches that I've played, really play myself into matches where I felt I started slowly, and, like today, maintain the level.
"I've played against some very good players. To be able to come through that, I'm very pleased."
Contrasted against the Brit's meteoric rise was Wozniacki across the net; the Dane had been the model of consistency for much of the last decade before an injury-addled 2016 took her as low as No.74 in the WTA rankings.
A run to the US Open semifinal served as a springboard for the No.17 seed, who returned to the Top 20 by year's end and was looking to interrupt Konta's run with a big win to start the season.
The first six games were hotly contested, but each went with serve before the Brit broke through on her third break point of the opening set, winning eight straight games to take a set and 5-0 lead.
"I know this may sound like a broken record, but I do try very hard to always make sure I really take the good and the things I can improve on from every match that I play and reinvest it into the next match. Whenever a similar situation arises, I make sure that's in my bank and I can use my experience from that.
"I think hopefully I'm getting a little wiser."
Undaunted, Wozniacki got on the board and pushed Konta through a tense final game before the No.9 seed clinched victory in one hour and 17 minutes.
"She played really well. She served really well, returned deep. She was going for the lines. It was going in. You could see she had the confidence," the Dane said after the match.
"I'm looking forward to the season. It's a better start than last year. We just have to go from here, go back and grind and then come back and play again.
"There's lots of tournaments ahead. That's what I'm looking forward to."
Up next for the top-ranked Brit is 2015 Australian Open semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova; the No.30 seed survived a titanic ecounter with reigning BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global champion and No.6 seed Dominika Cibulkova, 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-3.
"Every time we play, we have a battle," Konta said of her Russian rival. "I think last year was 8-6 in the third. I remember that was a high-level match from both of us. That was really a great match to be a part of.
"She had a great match against Dominika Cibulkova. Dominika is not an easy player to beat, and she was able to do that. She's playing obviously great tennis.
"I think she really enjoys playing here. She always seems to do well on these courts. I'm looking forward to it. We'll deal with whatever challenges come up the next day."
? #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 21, 2017