Johanna Konta off to a new but problematic season


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Johanna Konta off to a new but problematic season

Things were fine for Johanna Konta at Brisbane, the first warm-up tournament before the Australian Open. She had gotten off to a great start in defeating Sloane Stephens in the first round 6-4, 6-3 and was encouraged by her win saying "I knew in going to the match that Sloane is playing very well and there will be pockets of time where I might have very little say in the match...the first three games took like half an hour so it was very, very close at the beginning...I was happy to maintain a level and just come through..."

But the second round was her dust-up as she had gotten thre opposite Alja Tomjanovic and losing to her at 6-2, 7-6. Konta's issues developed at the next stop off at Sydney where she was born and raised. It was a warm-up session at the qualifying round that Jo Konta had developed a stiff neck playing opposite Ekaterina Alexandrova.

It wasn't even a half hour to have lapsed and she was trailing 1-4 and decided she wouldn't be able to play anymore. She bowed out and became a lucky loser because of Naomi Osaka's withdrawal. Konta still had her foot into the main draw in Australia and things were looking good.

All the intent was to play Sydney. Konta was due to be opposite the number nine ranked Kiki Bertens in the first round but not feeling at the top of the game or health because of the neck ailment, her second thoughts prevailed and she withdrew from the entire Sydney tournament.

Last year she was fourth in the world after going the distance at Wimbledon's semi-final but now ranked number 38. Konta can still qualify for the main draw as being a lucky loser if she feels up to playing. But what a difference a year makes when in 2018 Konta was ranked in the top 10, but still plagued by injury woes.

She made it to Brisbane fine this year, but last year had to withdraw due to a hip injury and at last year's Australian Open she was dealing with the foot ailment too. "I irritated my sural nerve in my foot...It's a sharp pain through [the edge of her left food]...It's still active but not painful.

I'm managing it..." She did manage and made it into Sydney last year but was defeated by the now former WTA player Aga Radwanska in straight sets but this year she will give Sydney a miss. The 2018 Australian Open she would play but had a second-round defeat by Bernarda Pera in straight sets and this 2019 Australian Open is up in the air for Konta's appearance not only to go deep in the tournament but to be able to play at all.

Time will tell all yet Konta does have some time to rest and recuperate. If able to play at Melbourne she'll come in as a lucky loser and in fortunate times there have been a few lucky losers who have wen the distance in a tournament.

Let's see if it will be Johanna Konta's luck and not be on the other side of the spectrum of a crowded draw, tough competition to be defeated or have to bow out due to injury.