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

2018 Australian Open
Dates: 15-28 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app. Live commentary on the best matches on BBC Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra and online.
British number one Johanna Konta made swift progress into the second round of the Australian Open with victory over American Madison Brengle.

Konta, seeded ninth, won 6-3 6-1 on Hisense Arena, the third show court at Melbourne Park.

The Briton had lost three of their four previous matches but was far too strong for the world number 90 this time.

Konta, 26, goes on to face American Bernarda Pera, the world number 123, in round two.

"I'm very happy with that match," said Konta.

"I knew it was going to be tough, she gets a lot of balls back and makes her opponent work for it.

"I'm very pleased I stuck to the style of play I wanted. I'm really happy to be back and excited to come back on Thursday."

'I love the Australian heat'

Konta's rise through the rankings over the past two years has been such that, despite being well established in the top 10, she is making only her third appearance in the Melbourne main draw.

She has plenty to live up to after reaching the semi-finals in 2016 and quarter-finals in 2017, both times losing to the eventual champion.

After a worrying end to last season that saw her lose five matches in a row, Konta appears to be back on track under the guidance of new coach Michael Joyce.

She had far too much for Brengle, whose lack of power on serve proved tricky in the opening stages as Konta searched for rhythm on her return.

A sharp backhand slice down the line brought the first break of serve in game three and the Briton moved a double-break up with a drive volley for 5-2.

With the contest in her hands it took three errors in a row from Konta to give Brengle some hope, and a break back, at 5-3, but a ruthless return game followed and the first set was hers.

A forehand winner gave Konta a 3-1 lead in the second set, but there were still signs of areas to work on before tougher tests with some loose work around the net.

Konta made sure wasted energy would not be a problem as she accelerated towards the finish line, a rasping forehand return taking her 5-1 in front.

A testing game followed as Brengle clung on until Konta converted her fourth match point, securing her place in round two on Thursday, when the temperature is forecast to rise dramatically.

"I'll love it," said Konta. "I'm really looking forward to that. I love the Australian heat."

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