Johanna Konta to take on Madison Brengle in opening match at Australian Open
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 11/01/18 11:05am
British No 1 Johanna Konta will take on American Madison Brengle in the opening round of the Australian Open.
Konta, seeded ninth, has reached the semi-finals and quarter-finals of the tournament in the last two years and is Britain's big hope following the withdrawal of Andy Murray and looks to have a great chance of reaching at
least the fourth round, where sixth seed Karolina Pliskova could await.
The 26-year-old is one of only three British players definitely in the main draw.
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Heather Watson will face Kazakh Yulia Putintseva while Kyle Edmund was handed a very tough draw against 11th seed and US Open finalist Kevin Anderson.
Women's top seed Simona Halep of Romania faces exciting 17-year-old Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava, with Eugenie Bouchard a potential round two opponent and Petra Kvitova a possible foe in round three.
Second seed Caroline Wozniacki starts out against Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu.
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Serena Williams will not defend the women's title having had her first child last year but 2008 champion Maria Sharapova, who failed a drugs test at the tournament in 2016, is back unseeded after a ban and will face Tatjana Maria.
The Russian could then face 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova, who ended her US Open run, while in-form former champion Angelique Kerber is a potential round three opponent.
Sharapova, ranked No.47, is a dangerous floater:— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 11, 2018
“There’s no easy way to get to the top, no matter where that starts. You always have to beat the top players in order to get there"
“After being away so long, I need to tell myself that this will take time”
The stand-out first-round draw on the women's side sees last year's runner-up Venus Williams meet former top-10 player Belinda Bencic, who is working her way back after two years of injury troubles.
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