Konta retires from Sydney International a week before Australian Open

Johanna Konta speaks to tour physio Belinda Smith

British number one Johanna Konta will play at the Sydney International as a lucky loser, having earlier withdrawn from the event with a neck injury.

Konta, 27, retired from her second-round qualifying match against Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova when 4-1 down.

But after treatment – and US Open champion Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal – Konta accepted the chance to play world number nine Kiki Bertens on Monday.

Compatriot Heather Watson, 26, is into the Hobart International main draw.

Watson, the British number two and a previous winner of the Tasmania event, overcame Australian Isabelle Wallace 6-4 6-4 in the qualifying round and will now face Romania’s world number 67 Irina-Camelia Begu.

“When I come to Hobart I’m always feeling really positive and excited about the tournament,” said Watson.

“When I’m happy, I play better. I’m very happy here and I think it shows in my results.”

Sydney-born Konta, ranked 37th in the world, reached the Australian Open semi-finals in 2016 and was a quarter-finalist in 2017, though she exited last year’s tournament in the second round.

She hurt her neck in the warm-up on Sunday and retired just 18 minutes into the match after speaking to physio Belinda Smith at courtside.

The tournaments in Sydney and Hobart are the final WTA events before the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, begins on 14 January.

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BBC Sport – Tennis

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