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Konta has quality to clinch Aussie Open title: Croft

By Eleanor Crooks

Annabel Croft sees Johanna Konta as a future Grand Slam winner and would not be surprised if it came as early as the Australian Open.

The first major tournament of the new season begins in Melbourne on Monday and the women's draw again looks very open.

Serena Williams, now 35, played her first tournament since the US Open in Auckland last week and suffered a shock early loss.

World No.1 and defending champion Angelique Kerber has also had a stuttering start to the season. And Croft, one of Konta's predecessors as British No.1, thinks the 25-year-old could be the player to take advantage.

Now in the top 10, Konta has built impressively on her surprise run to the semi-finals in Melbourne 12 months ago.

Croft said: "She's in great form, very fit physically, unbelievably consistent, very headstrong, just one of those names that any of the players in the draw would see as a nightmare.

"I'd definitely put her up there in names you'd put forward as potential Grand Slam champions. When you look at the names ahead of her, she's beaten most of them. The fact she's been in the semi-finals of Grand Slams before, why not go further?"

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