Jo Konta to start season against Sloane Stephens

British number one Johanna Konta will start her 2019 season against third seed Sloane Stephens, after the draw for the Brisbane International was made.

Konta will be looking to cause an upset in the opening round as she looks to return to the sort of form that saw her reach the Australian Open semi-finals in 2016. While it looks like a tough draw on paper, perhaps the best time to play a player like Sloane Stephens is in Brisbane.

The American struggled in Australia last year, often looking second-best after the highs of lifting the US Open trophy. Konta will fancy her chances, and it’ll be interesting to see what changes she’s made to her game under new coach Dimitri Zavialoff.

The Brit will be looking to emulate her form towards the end of 2018, where she surprised many with an unexpected run to the semi-finals of the Kremlin Cup. Other players in the draw include Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka, who both receive byes into the second round.

Dart looking for unexpected main draw appearance

Jo Konta might not be the only British player in the main draw as Harriet Dart looks to qualify tomorrow morning.

Dart, who had a tremendous 2018, has already caused two huge upsets in qualifying by beating higher-ranked players Caroline Dolehide and Kateryna Kozlova. The Brit saved match points in today’s match against the Ukrainian as she came back to clinch a 2-6 6-1 7-6 victory.

Experienced German Andrea Petkovic awaits Harriet tomorrow and the Brit will have to be at her best if she is to qualify for the WTA Premier event. Whatever happens, Dart has proven that she has worked hard on her game in the pre-season as she looks to cement her place inside the top 150.

Image: Marianne Bevis

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