Konta suffers defeat as Dart arrows through in Australia

British No.1 Johanna Konta was simply relieved to physically make it through the match despite exiting the Australian Open at the first-round stage, while Harriet Dart progressed after a three-set thriller.

Konta, who represented Team GB at the 2016 Olympic Games, lost 6-4, 6-2 to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in Melbourne.

But it was only the 28-year-old’s second match since coming back from a five-month lay-off with a knee injury.

"Ultimately the main thing was to start playing again, and I am,” Konta said.

“And how I physically felt out there is obviously a massive tick for me compared to where I was in September of last year.

“Before Brisbane, I had been out for almost five months so it's been quite a bit of time away.

"Giving myself that time to find a level that I want to play is going to be important. I also played a very good opponent, so it’s not all on my racket.

“I knew that by taking a decision to come play here, I was opening myself up to potentially it not going well or for it to be difficult.”

There was joy for Dart however, as she overcame Japan’s Misaki Doi in a final-set tie-break, winning 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-6).

Dart joins Dan Evans in the second round after the British No.1 came from two sets down to beat USA’s Mackenzie McDonald 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 on the opening day of action.

Kyle Edmund, an Australian Open semi-finalist in 2018, was knocked out by Serbia’s 24th seed Dusan Lajovic, losing 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).

There was also disappointment for Cameron Norrie – who went down 7-5, 3-6, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to France’s Pierre-Hughes Herbert – while Katie Boulter lost 6-4, 7-5 to Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina.

Sportsbeat 2020