Johanna Konta: Simona Halep is definitely a favorite for the Australian Open title

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Johanna Konta: Simona Halep is definitely a favorite for the Australian Open title

Johanna Konta says Simona Halep is absolutely one of her favorites for the Australian Open title. After beating Danka Kovinic 6-2 6-1 in the Australian Open third round, Melbourne Summer Set 1 champion Halep improved to 8-0 on the season.

“I think Simona always puts herself amongst the favourites to win any tournament that she’s in,” Konta told Eurosport. "She’s such a consistent competitor, a consistent player. “Also, with her game style, she really invites her opponents to try to beat her, and very few can, so I definitely believe that she’s a favourite for the Australian Open this year.

“I think maybe if there is surprise it’s only in the context of the fact that she’s been away from the game for a little while, she hasn’t played as much. However, if you then look through the recent history of our game it’s not really a surprise.

“She’s been one of the consistent, dominant players at the top of the game in the last 10 years of our sport. So I do not believe it to be a massive surprise that she is now a favourite for winning the title”.

Konta on Emma Raducanu

Raducanu beat Sloane Stephens in the Australian Open first round before losing to Kovinic in the second round. Raducanu was hampered by blisters and that greatly impacted her performance in a shock loss to Kovinic.

“I think the fact that she had that tough first round against Sloane Stephens and was able to come through that, then also the way that she was able to compete in that second round [was important]," Konta said.

“It’s a positive that she’s on tour and that she’s going to be consistently on tour now. I think that’s what we keep talking about: she needs time in this environment – just that consistent time in this environment – and I think it will all go into the bank of experience”.