Johanna Konta's impressive Australian Open has come to an end after a clinical masterclass from Serena Williams saw her knocked out at the quarter-final stage.
The British number one had yet to drop a set in Melbourne but, in Williams, found herself beaten by the better player on the day, losing 6-2 6-3 in the first meeting between the pair.
But despite the scoreline, Williams insisted she had just beaten a future Australian Open champion, with Konta having beaten Caroline Wozniacki on her way to this, a second successive quarter-final having reached the last four last year.
And Konta admitted she was flattered by the acclaim of Williams, a 22-time Grand Slam winner, hoping it is these experiences that can help her fight back after her nine-game winning run came to an end.
"That's nice, I will do my best. I think it was probably one of the best experiences of my life," she said.
"I think there's so many things I can learn from that, so many things I can look to improve on, also acknowledge some things that I did well.
"I think, credit to her, she played an almost perfect first set. I felt she really did incredibly well. She just showed why she is who she is."
"I cried because I'm generally quite an emotional person. I think I've never hid that away.
"I've worked incredibly hard to direct that emotion into a positive way and into a constructive way on court but off court I'm still very emotional."
It was Konta, seeded ninth for the tournament, who had the first chance to create an opening, sending a break point long in just the third game, a miss ruthlessly punished by Williams, who responded with the break to go 3-1 up.
And with her second serve under heaps of pressure, efforts to save the first set proved in vain, with the American closing out the 6-2 victory.
But the British number one showed the exact tennis that has led to her being a form player on tour, forcing an early break to lead 3-1 - all after recovering from 0-40 to win a game earlier in the set.
But despite doing very little wrong, the break was quickly exchanged, with Williams reeling off five consecutive frames to win 6-3, keeping her in the hunt for her 23rd Grand Slam title.
And with small margins deciding a match ill-fitting of the scoreline, Williams believes there is something special in the 25-year-old's locker, backing her for Grand Slam success sooner rather than later.
"Johanna Konta has been playing so well," said the second seed.
"I was in the locker room watching her clean up her matches. She is a future champion here for sure, so I am pleased to get through this.
"I got a little frustrated with my serve, but I told myself 'don't get Babyrena' and focused on enjoying myself out here. Today I felt I can do this, it is such a great opportunity for me."
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