Johanna Konta to face Madison Brengle in Australian Open first round

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Great Britain’s Johanna Konta will play American Madison Brengle in the opening round of the Australian Open.

Konta, seeded ninth, has reached the semi-finals and quarter-finals of the tournament in the last two years and is Britain’s big hope following the withdrawal of Andy Murray.

Konta is one of only three British players definitely in the main draw. Heather Watson will face Kazakh Yulia Putintseva while Kyle Edmund was handed a very tough draw against 11th seed and US Open finalist Kevin Anderson.

Anderson and Edmund played each other at the French Open last year, when the South African prevailed over five tough sets.

Anderson said: “It was a very close match, five long sets. He’s a terrific player, he’s really improved, very physical, his forehand’s improved so it’s going to be a tough match.”

Top seed Rafael Nadal will face Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic in round one and was placed in a kind quarter as he prepares to make his return from knee problems.

Defending champion Roger Federer will take on Aljaz Bedene, who recently switched from representing Great Britain back to his native Slovenia.

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic is only seeded 14th after his lengthy absence with elbow problems and was handed a tricky draw.

The Serbian will open against American Donald Young and could face Frenchman Gael Monfils, the champion last weekend in Doha, in round two.

Should he reach the fourth round, a clash with fourth seed Alexander Zverev looms, although the young German may well have to beat his brother Mischa to get there.

Djokovic is in the same half of the draw as Federer while Nadal’s seeded semi-final opponent is third seed Grigor Dimitrov, who could face in-form Nick Kyrgios in round four.

In the women’s draw, world number one Simona Halep faces exciting 17-year-old Australian Destanee Aiava in round one, with Eugenie Bouchard a potential round two opponent and Petra Kvitova a possible foe in round three.

Second seed Caroline Wozniacki meets Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania in a much more inviting section of the draw but Maria Sharapova, back at the scene of her failed drugs test two years ago, has a lot of work to do.

After German Tatjana Maria in round one, Sharapova could face 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova, who ended her US Open run, while in-form former champion Angelique Kerber is a potential round three opponent.

The stand-out first-round draw on the women’s side sees last year’s runner-up Venus Williams meet former top-10 player Belinda Bencic, who is working her way back after two years of injury troubles.

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