British Tennis Round-up: Murray and Konta kickstart 2019 with wins Down Under

07/01/2019

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Andy Murray in Brisbane

Australia – Brisbane

Andy Murray kickstarted his season with an impressive straight sets victory over Australia’s James Duckworth at the Brisbane International. The three-time Grand Slam champion was playing his first match since September 2018 and defeated Duckworth 6-3, 6-4.

He went on to play fourth seed Danill Medvedev in the second round, but missed out on progressing as he fell 7-5, 6-2 to the Russian who went on to reach the final.

Johanna Konta also got a strong win under her belt as she defeated 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3.

She faced Australia’s Alja Tomljanovic in the round of 16, but lost 6-2, 7-6(2).

Harriet Dart celebrates a new career-high of world No.132 after enjoying a great run in Brisbane. She successfully qualified for the event by defeating America’s Caroline Dolehide and Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova, before going up against Australian wild card Priscilla Hon in the opening round of the main draw. Harriet battled back from a set down to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. Her run was brought to an end in her final-16 clash as she lost 6-2, 6-0 to Latvian eighth seed Anastasija Sevastova.

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2019 I’m coming for you 🦁 @brisbanetennis

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Harriet’s performance in Brisbane will put her in solid stead for the upcoming Australian Open qualifying event. First up, she’ll face France’s Chloe Paquet in the qualifying round, scheduled for 04:10 (GMT), Tuesday 8 January.

In doubles, Joe Salisbury teamed up with America’s Rajeev Ram to reach the final. Seeded fourth, the pair defeated Grigor Dimitrov and Ryan Harrison, Austin Krajicek and Artem Sitak, and Jordan Thompson and James Duckworth en route to the final, but were denied the title after suffering a tight 6-4, 7-6(6) loss to Marcus Daniell and Wesley Koolhof.

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Taking "hitting it on the rise" a bit too literally 😅 #brisbane #intothesemis #ibelievicanfly

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India

Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara also had a great start to the year as they finished doubles finalists at an ATP 250 tournament in Pune, India.

The pair, who seized their maiden and second ATP titles last year, captured wins against Purav Raja and Ramkumar Ramanathan, N Sriram Balaji and Arjun Kadhe, and Gerard Granollers and Marcel Granollers to secure their spot in the final, but missed out on the trophy after falling 6-3, 6-4 to Indian top seeds Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan.

The result means they both achieve new career-high rankings, Bambridge at world No.51 and O’Mara at No.55.

Australia – Perth

Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter paired up in Perth for the Hopman Cup and got some great match practice going into the Australian Open.

The Hopman Cup is an international mixed team event where pairs compete as nations. Eight pairs are split into two round-robin groups (Group A and Group B), with each team playing one male singles, one female singles and one mixed doubles rubber (played in Fast4 format). Cameron and Katie found themselves in Group A, along with Greece, Switzerland and the USA.

Up against Greece first, Cameron was in brilliant form to defeat world No.15 Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(8), 6-4. Katie was close to defeating world No.41 Maria Sakkari before eventually falling in three sets, but the pair pulled off a 2-1 win after victory in the doubles rubber.

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⚡️🇬🇧⚡️ @katiecboulter

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It was then time for reigning champions Switzerland in the form of Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic. Federer proved triumphant with a straightforward victory over Norrie and world No.55 Bencic was pushed by Boulter but won 6-2, 7-6(0).  Despite forcing a tie-break in the doubles, Switzerland made it a clean sweep with a 4-3(0), 4-1 victory.

In their final round-robin tie, the British duo stunned Serena Williams and Frances Tiafoe to win 3-4(2), 4-3)4), 4-1. Cameron earlier ousted world No.39 Tiaefoe 7-6(4), 6-0, but Serena prevailed over Boulter despite being forced to play a second set tie-break. 

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