Australian Open Preview: Konta flag bearer on Day Two

After a truly unforgettable opening day in Melbourne, which saw Andy Murray perform heroics for potentially the last time, attention swiftly turns to day two of the Australian Open. With only two of the seven Brits coming through the opening day, Jo Konta will be looking to make it a tremendous trio as she takes to the courts on Tuesday.

Johanna Konta vs Ajla Tomljanovic (00:00 GMT)

It’s hard to believe that Jo Konta’s fairytale run to the Semi-Finals of the Australian Open came three years ago. The last 18 months haven’t gone according to plan, but the British number one is back having recovered from a freak neck injury which forced her to withdraw in the qualifying rounds at the Sydney International.

Before her injury, the season had started well. A stunning victory over Sloane Stephens in Brisbane was just the start she needed after finishing 2018 with that strong run in Moscow. However, her second round opponent – a certain Ajla Tomljanovic – proved too strong as she suffered a slightly surprising defeat.

Tomljanovic is only four positions behind her career high ranking of 43 and is certainly someone enjoying her tennis again. It’s hard to imagine that just 12 months ago, Tomljanovic was ranked outside the top 100 having recovered from a shoulder injury that kept her out for pretty much the whole of 2016.

Jo couldn’t have asked for a more difficult draw, with the likes of Simona Halep, Serena and Venus Williams and Karolina Pliskova in her quarter. But her opening round opponent hasn’t won a match since beating the Brit in Brisbane. The Aussie’s record in Melbourne is also a bit shaky, having won just two matches back in 2013 and 2014, and the bookies reflect this, having Konta as slight favourite.

It won’t be easy and Konta will need to recapture the form that saw her face up to Serena Williams at the last eight stage two years ago if she is going to defeat her tricky opponent. Victory promises a tasty potential second round match-up against Garbine Muguruza, so there’s all to play for on Court 3.

Verdict: Jo Konta in two sets

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