When Johanna Konta reached the quarter-finals here last year, it was a big deal: the first time a British woman had gone that far in any WTA Premier Mandatory tournament since the format was introduced in 2009.
It is a sign of Konta’s progress that her 7-5, 6-1 victory over Lara Arruabarrena last night, which moved her into the last eight for the second successive season, felt fairly routine.
We just expect Konta to deliver these days, and while she has yet to develop into a serial winner of titles, she rarely suffers upsets against the likes of Arruabarrena, a hard-running Spaniard ranked No 72 in the world.
To reach this stage, Arruabarrena had to dispose of the long-limbed, fast-swinging Madison Keys, so she is no pushover. But despite her huge appetite for mileage, she could not match Konta’s firepower off the ground.
The Spaniard was on top for a lot of the first set, bringing up two break points that she could not convert. But Konta was more ruthless: when her own chance came, with Arruabarrena serving at 5-6 down, she powered an inside-out forehand into the corner with pinpoint accuracy.
The same shot was destructive again in the second set, perhaps exploiting a chink in Arruabarrena’s otherwise frictionless movement.
The underdog was not allowed to hold serve again, and the winners tally at the end, 31 for Konta, and 11 for Arruabarrena, showed that it is always better to dictate terms in this game. The break-point statistics also showed how far her mental game has come: each woman held four chances but Konta converted four and her opponent only one.