BRISBANE: Johanna Konta has opened her season with a tough 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys at the Brisbane International.
The fifth-seeded Konta entered the Australian Open tuneup tournament after losing her last four matches in 2017, including a first-round exit at the U.S. Open.
After dropping the first set Monday, Konta hit form and had decisive service breaks early in the second and third sets before clinching it on her second match point, breaking Keys' serve to finish off in just over two hours.
Keys, playing just her second match since her career-best run at the U.S. Open, had 11 aces and hit 37 winners but made 38 unforced errors and in humid conditions on Pat Rafter Arena.
In other matches, third-seeded Elina Svitolina opened with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Carla Suarez Navarro, 2012 champion Kaia Kanepi beat Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-2 and qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich ousted No. 6-seeded Kristina Mladenovic 1-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova withdrew from the tournament earlier Monday because of a viral illness and was replaced in the draw by Heather Watson.
On the men's side, No. 8-seeded Mischa Zverev held off Australian qualifier John-Patrick Smith 6-4, 7-5, Ryan Harrison beat Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 and Horacio Zeballos had a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ernesto Escobedo.