Konta feeling great about first-round victory

Johanna Konta kicked off her 2018 Australian Open campaign in style and felt afterwards she ticked a lot of boxes during her win.

The British No 1 needed just over an hour on Tuesday afternoon to beat American Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-1 on Hisense Arena at Melbourne Park.

The ninth seed came into the match slightly short on match practice as her build-up to the season-opening Grand Slam wasn’t the best as she withdrew from the Brisbane event and then suffered an early exit in Sydney.

However, she showed no signs of rustiness against Brengle as she hit 37 winners.

“I was actually really enjoying being out there,” said Konta. “It was a nice day. It was sunny. It was quite a full stadium. There was a lot of people.

“I kind of tried to absorb the atmosphere a little bit. I was really excited to play.

“I thought it was a great first round for me to fight through and battle through and stay strong in the way I wanted to play out there. And I feel I did that.”

Konta has made great progress as a player in the last few years, reaching the quarter-finals last year and the semis in her first main draw appearance in 2016.

Despite her emphatic victory, she had encouraging words for her opponent Brengle.

“I have matured physically but also emotionally and mentally,” said Konta.

“Madison is the kind of player who does ask a lot of questions of the people she plays. She gets a lot of balls back. You need patience to also play with her.

“That’s definitely one thing I have gotten better at over the years.”

The 26-year-old will take on another American in Bernarda Pera in the second round.