Angelique Kerber ended Johanna Konta’s dream of winning the Australian Open in the semi-finals and then backed the Briton to enjoy success in the future.
The 24-year-old was looking to become Britain’s first finalist in a Grand Slam since Jo Durie won at Wimbledon 39 years ago, but she lost in straight sets to her German opponent, 7-5 6-2 on Thursday.
Kerber subsequently became the first German to reach the final at Melbourne Park since Anke Huber in 1996 and will now face top seed Serena Williams in the final following the American’s win against Agnieszka Radwanska in their semi-final clash.
However, the 28-year-old world number six was full of praise for Konta after their meeting on the Rod Laver Arena and she firmly believes that the world number 47 will go on to be a force in tennis.
“It’s a really special moment to reach the final for the first time,” Kerber said.
“I gave everything on court. Johanna had a great two weeks, she had a great two weeks and she has a great future. She is a tough opponent and will win many, many tournaments in the future for sure.”
Kerber is 5.50 to win her first Australian Open title, while Williams can be backed at 1.15 to win her seventh crown in Australia and a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title following her 6-0 6-4 demolition job on Radwanska.