World No2 Andy Murray toasted a landmark day for British tennis after he and Johanna Konta ended the country’s 39-year wait to have both men’s and women’s semi-finalists at the same grand slam.
Konta penned the latest chapter of her fairytale run at the Australian Open by defeating Chinese wildcard Shuai Zhang 6-4, 6-1 to reach the last four of a major tournament for the first time.
Murray beat Spanish eighth seed David Ferrer 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-3 to progress to a 18th grand slam semi-final, where he will meet Canadian Milos Raonic, and stay on course for a fifth Melbourne final.
World No47 Konta is due to meet German seventh seed Angelique Kerber early on Thursday morning but has already vastly exceeded expectations for a player who failed to qualify for this event last year.
“It’s really, really good for tennis on the back of the end of last year,” said Murray, who two months ago inspired Great Britain’s first Davis Cup success since 1936.
“What’s happened with Jo I think has come as a surprise to everyone. The rise she’s made over the last nine or 10 months has been fantastic. It as well shows that anything is possible having the right people around you and the right attitude and the right work ethic.”
Konta, who was born in Sydney to Hungarian parents and moved to England aged 14, has already climbed more than 100 ranking places in the last year and is now assured of entering the top 30 for the first time.
“In terms of what it means to me, I’m just so happy that I’m enjoying what I’m doing,” she said.
“That is me living my dream. When I was a little girl I dreamt of winning grand slams and being No1 in the world. That dream stays the same I think as long as you’re doing the career that you’re on. That’s why I started this sport, that’s why I’m still in this sport.”
Jamie Murray’s progress to the men’s doubles semi-finals ensured Britain had representatives in three different events at a grand slam for the first time since 1935. He and Brazilian Bruno Soares are due to face French duo Adrian Mannarino and Lucas Pouille in the early hours of Thursday morning.