Home Australian Open: Johanna Konta and Kyle Edmund up against it in tough draw | Tennis | Sport

Australian Open: Johanna Konta and Kyle Edmund up against it in tough draw | Tennis | Sport

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It is those who have failed to make the trip Down Under – or those who have limped here carrying injuries – who are causing a stir and, as a result, both draws are supposed to be there for the taking by any young hopeful with a bit of a courage and a hefty forehand.

Alas, the chance of one of those young hopes coming from Britain seems unlikely – the Poms took a bashing in yesterday’s draw.

Kyle Edmund was pitted against US Open finalist Kevin Anderson and Johanna Konta found herself up against Madison Brengle, a woman she has lost to three times in four meetings.

If she does manage to beat the American – and with Konta sitting 83 ranking spots above Brengle at No9 in the world, that seems likely – there are a host of obstacles cluttering her path to the sharp end of the tournament, not the least of which is the ominous sight of Simona Halep, the world No1, waiting for her in the quarter-finals.

As for Edmund, his trip to the southern hemisphere is proving to be a true test of patience and belief. He was playing extremely well last week in Brisbane, taking on Grigor Dimitrov stroke for stroke in the quarter-finals in Brisbane, and then he lost his footing, rolled his ankle and fell over.

That kept him out of the Auckland event this week and now he must find a way to defuse the thunderbolts 6ft 8ins Anderson will serve at him with relentless precision in the first round in Melbourne.

Edmund tried to do just that last year at Roland Garros but the big South African simply would not let him; Anderson won in five sets. Now, having reached his first Grand Slam final last September, Anderson has added experience to go with the muscle.

“The US Open last summer was great for me – I learned a lot from that,” Anderson said. “Hopefully if I can reach the last few rounds, I will feel more comfortable. The courts are playing a little bit faster so hopefully that will help my serve.”

Maria Sharapova, who is still clawing her way back up the rankings after a 15-month drugs ban, has her work cut out if she is to claim her second Australian title.

Now ranked No47, she could face the 14th seed Anastasija Sevastova in the second round, Angelique Kerber – the 2016 champion – in the third round and, potentially, Garbine Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion, in the fourth round.

Roger Federer will begin the defence of his title against the former Brit Aljaz Bedene and is in the same half of the draw as Novak Djokovic, although the Serb’s participation is still in doubt as he comes back from an elbow injury. In the top half of the draw, Rafael Nadal’s first serious threat ought to come in the shape of John Isner in the fourth round.

Naomi Broady battled through to the second round of qualifying at the Australian Open but there were defeats for Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter.

Broady, the seventh seed, recovered from dropping the second set to Kathinka von Deichmann of Liechtenstein to win 7-6, 5-7, 6-3 in hot conditions in Melbourne.

The British No3 will face Dutchwoman Bibiane Schoofs in the second round with three victories needed for a place in the main draw.

Norrie, the sixth seed, came through his first-round match on Wednesday but was well beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Australian John-Patrick Smith.

Boulter retired with a leg problem trailing 6-4, 6-7, 5-2 to America’s Kayla Day.

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