Johanna Konta beats Madison Keys in tough Brisbane International opener
1 January 2018, 09:04
Johanna Konta made a winning start to 2018 with a come-from-behind victory over Madison Keys at the Brisbane International.
Konta battled back from dropping the first set against her American opponent to secure a battling 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over Keys, ranked 19 in the world heading into the season.
Fifth seed Konta could not have asked for a tougher first-round draw after ending 2017 on a run of poor form, and she dropped her opening set of the year when her serve was broken for the first (and only) time in the 10th game.
But the British No 1 secured a service break of her own in the fifth game of the second set and served out safely to send the match into a decider.
And Konta started it perfectly, breaking Keys in the opening game and proving solid on her own serve before securing victory with a second break on her second match point.
She said: "It was my first match in quite a while and it was a tough first round, Madison is a great player. She has a big game so when my chances came I had to take them."
Konta will face Ajla Tomljanovic in the second round, with the Australian having beaten wildcard Destanee Aiava 6-1 6-4 in her first round match.
Heather Watson was a late addition to the singles draw as a lucky loser, following the withdrawal of Petra Kvitova with a virus, but Watson was thrashed 6-0 6-3 by Anett Kontaveit of Estonia after previously failing to make it through qualifying.
In other first-round matches, third seed Elina Svitolina opened with a 6-2 6-4 win over Carla Suarez Navarro, 2012 champion Kaia Kanepi beat Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-2 and qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich knocked out sixth seed Kristina Mladenovic 1-6 6-3 7-5.
(c) Sky News 2018: Johanna Konta beats Madison Keys in tough Brisbane International opener