Johanna Konta’s performance tonight against the emerging Japanese starlet Naomi Ozaki, was not enough to convince you that she has the overall game to barge past the likes of Elina Svitolina, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska in the race to break their Grand Slam duck.

A banana skin avoided, but not with the greatest ease

Despite being punished on a few weak seconds serves, Naomi Osaki won the first game on her serve to 30. Konta answered with a confident service game to win to 15, as a game of cat and mouse started to emerge. Each player gave little away on their serve in the first handful of games.

Then in the fifth game at 2-2, Konta’s acute angling had Osaka on the run and a break of serve was in sight as she race to 30-0, then 40-15, but when in control on breakpoint Konta drove a double-handed backhand into the net. This galvanised Osaka who saw out the game to hold serve.

19-year-old, Osaka looked to be the one holding her nerve the better in a cagey first set as she took at 4-3 lead, without having to hit too many winners as Konta struggled for range. A weak second serve from Konta helped Osaka to a break point in the eighth game and, the Brit needed to win her first point behind a second serve to save the break point and then promptly closed out the game, to make it 4-4.

This woke up the sleeping giant that is Johanna Konta, as she race to three break points, converting the second one to make it 5-4.

Konta overcame the tricky sun position to hold serve and close out the first set 6-4. Osaka’s wrist injury didn’t seem to be restricting her too much, but she certainly didn’t seem to be at 100%. Konta seemed to lack the ruthless consistency that is a must if you want to break your Grand Slam duck.

An early break for Konta in the second set made it 2-1, finally giving her the stranglehold on the match that she needed.

Osaka showed amiable grit and ruggedness to hang in there on her own serve. The sun then turned from foe for Konta at the US Open 2016, to friend today at the Australian Open, causing Osaka problems with her serve to give Konta a second break. Osaka showed glimpses of the talent that she undoubtedly is - to save two break points, but Britains’ number 1 stuck to the task to seal a 6-4 6-2 victory.

Bigger/major picture

Whilst Osaka was a difficult 2nd round opponent, she was not prepared well enough due to her injury and it made Konta look stronger than she actually was. Konta needs to up her game quickly in order to continue the momentum gained from her Sydney victory. Is she ready to break her Grand Slam duck in this first Grand Slam of the year? The jury is still out. One thing’s for sure: a potential third round clash with Wozniacki is a mouth-watering prospect.