Australian Open 2018: Johanna Konta beats Madison Brengle to move into second round


Johanna Konta began her Australian Open campaign in comfortable fashion with a 6-3 6-1 victory over American Madison Brengle.

The ninth seed has a fine record at Melbourne Park having reached the semi-finals and quarter-finals the last two years and is one of a whole raft of contenders for the women’s title.

Konta made a few too many errors in the opening set but grew convincingly into the match and was simply far too good for her 90th-ranked opponent.

The 26-year-old, who next faces another American in lucky loser Bernarda Pera, said: “I’m very happy with that match. I knew it was going to be tough, she gets a lot of balls back. I’m very happy I was able to stick to the style of play I wanted out there. I love playing here and I’ve had some of the best results of my career here.”

Konta’s victory continued Britain’s fine start to the tournament, with Kyle Edmund upsetting Kevin Anderson on day one, and Heather Watson will look to make it three out of three later on Tuesday.

Brengle reached the fourth round of the Australian Open three years ago but her most notable result came last year, when she defeated Serena Williams in Auckland.

She remains the last player to beat the 23-time grand slam champion, who went on to win at Melbourne Park despite being nine weeks pregnant.

But there was little in Brengle’s game to offer danger to Konta, with the American’s serve in particular a real liability, although her backhand is a good shot.

Konta’s season in 2017 was highlighted by runs to the last eight here and the semi-finals at Wimbledon, but she also lost in the first round at the French Open and US Open.

The British number one admitted on the eve of the tournament that, alongside new coach Michael Joyce, she is still working through the anxiety issues that developed during a five-match losing run to end last season.

There were signs of tension from Konta in a number of wild errors as she looked to harness her considerable extra power in comparison to her opponent.

But the Brengle serve was under constant pressure and, although a poor game from Konta serving for the first set donated one break back, she promptly broke to love to clinch it.

The second set was much better from Konta, who did not look back after breaking for a 3-1 lead and powered her way into the second round.



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