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Konta's bid to retain Sydney title is ended in opening round

 

By Robert Jones

Johanna Konta saw her Sydney International title defence swiftly ended as she lost to Agnieszka Radwanska in the first round.

A slide in the rankings to 28th meant former World No.2 Radwanska entered this week as an unseeded player, but she showed her quality in a 6-3 7-5 victory.

In a repeat of last year's final, fourth seed Konta could not take control against Poland's former Wimbledon runner-up.

Consolation for Konta came with the fact she completed the match without obvious physical problems, five days after being forced to retire from her Brisbane International quarter-final with Elina Svitolina due to injury.

She now heads for Melbourne and the Australian Open, where 12 months ago she reached the quarter-finals, while Radwanska continues her Grand Slam preparation in Sydney and faces American teenager CiCi Bellis next.

Radwanska said: "I'm just so happy to play such a great match before the Australian Open.

"It was a top-10 level match with some ups and downs, but I'm happy to win in two sets."

Venus Williams was the casualty of a heavyweight second-round clash with Germany's former World No.1 Angelique Kerber, starting well but running out of steam in losing 5-7 6-3 6-1.

Rain had held up play after wins for Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, Czech Barbora Strycova and Australian Samantha Stosur.

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