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Melbourne | Konta and Edmund fall at first hurdle

Melbourne | Konta and Edmund fall at first hurdle

It was a gloomy start for the British contingent playing on the second day of the Australian Open with two – and both former semi-finalists in Melbourne – being eliminated in the first round

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 Johanna Konta

With six of them in action on Tuesday, two of the higher profile players, Jo Konta and Kyle Edmund (both having had knee problems last year) were certainly expected to join Dan Evans in round two.

Konta, who reached the semi-finals four years ago, was seeded 12 for the tournament but had only played one match since reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open last year, did raise doubts as to her fitness when she pulled out of any warm-up events for the opening grand slam of the season.

The British No.1 lost 6-4 6-2 to the world No. 78 Ons Jabeur, a very tricky Tusisian when she is on form.

It was disappointing for Konta who until last year when she lost n the second round, she had been used to reaching at least the quarter-finals of a slam.

On a more positive note she she was happy with her knee’s performance and put down her loss to a lack of match practice.

“It’s an unfortunate thing,” she said. “It’s part of the sport and it’s part of also the way I play, and it’s something that will come with time and matches.

“I think ultimately the main thing was to start playing again, and I am. And how I physically felt out there is obviously a massive tick for me compared to where I was in September of last year.

“I think giving myself that time to find a level that I want to play is going to be important. And 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.”

Konta must now decide where to play next, and she may seek a wild card into the St Petersburg Trophy, which begins two days after Britain’s Fed Cup play-off against Slovakia which she has announced she will not be joining the team wishing to concentrate on her singles.

Kyle Edmund was in a good position when rain stopped play on Monday

Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images

Meanwhile Edmund had was in an excellent position on Monday when he led Dusan Lajovic, the 24th seed, 5-2 when the match was held over thanks to rain.
On resumption Lajovic won three straight games and took the opening set on a tie-break to the delight of his noisy Serbian fans.

The match continued to be close but any glimmers for Edmund were snuffed out by Lajovic, who completed the victory with a running forehand winner.

Edmund has now lost in the first round on both his visits to Melbourne Park since making the last four in 2018.

The former British No1 who has slipped to three, said: “Ultimately it’s disappointing because I’m out of the tournament. From his point of view, I thought he was playing pretty well, at a high level, consistently.

“Normally, in the past, he’s given away a little bit more cheap points. But today he was good. And I just found that he was being a bit more proactive than me. I didn’t come out sharp enough.”

Edmund, who is currently ranked 65, is looking to improve his position having turned round a bad run of results at the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid.

He said: “I feel like I am playing better than I was this time last year. And even the way I finished at the end of the year, I was in a good place.

“I want to be playing better and winning more matches. They are not coming at the minute. I have to keep going. I don’t think I am too far away. I believe that I can do it again.”

Still to play today, Tuesday, are Harriet Dart, Heather Watson, Katie Boulter and Cameron Norrie.

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