Britain’s Johanna Konta insists she is not looking too far ahead at the Australian Open despite underlining her title credentials while more big names tumbled out on Thursday.
Konta, who reached the last four in Melbourne last year, despatched powerful Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-2 to set up a third-round clash with former world No1 Caroline Wozniacki.
While she sailed through, third seed and prospective semi-final opponent Agnieszka Radwanska sank in straight sets. Her early exit followed that of fourth seed Simona Halep, a first-round victim.
“I was very happy that I got to have my first match on Rod Laver today,” said Konta after shining on the show court.
“I got to accumulate a lot of great memories and experiences last year but it’s a different tour and a different year so it’s really important for me to stay present and take it one match at a time.”
Wozniacki, who beat Croatian Donna Vekic 6-1, 6-3, slipped to No79 in the world rankings last year but reached the last four of the US Open and has since climbed back into the top 20.
Konta added: “I haven’t played her before so I’m looking forward to it. She’s been around on tour for such a long time, it’s a credit to her physical ability and resilience. I know it’ll be a tough battle.”
Watson beaten, Serena progresses
Fellow Briton Heather Watson wasted five match points as she suffered a surprise second-round loss to American qualifier Jennifer Brady 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 10-8.
Two-time Melbourne semi-finalist Radwanska fell 6-3, 6-2 to 34-year-old world No79 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia.
Six-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams dismissed Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-4 to maintain her challenge for an Open era-record 23rd grand slam title.