Konta leads British challenge at US Open

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Johanna Konta is Britain’s best hope of success following Andy Murray’s decision to pull out of the US Open
US Open 2017
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 28 August – 10 September
BBC coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and Radio 5 live sports extra, plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Johanna Konta will lead a British contingent of four players in action on day one of the US Open in New York after Andy Murray’s withdrawal.

Seventh seed Konta is Britain’s best hope of success following Murray’s decision to pull out with a hip injury.

Konta takes on Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic in the second match on Grandstand court at around 19:00 BST.

Heather Watson, Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie all play at 16:00, with Aljaz Bedene scheduled to start on Tuesday.

Watson plays France’s Alize Cornet on court four, Kyle Edmund faces Dutch 32nd seed Robin Haase on court 10, and qualifier Cameron Norrie takes on Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov on court 14.

  • 1600: Heather Watson (GB) v Alize Cornet (Fra)
  • 1600: Kyle Edmund (GB) v Robin Haase (Ned)
  • 1600: Cameron Norrie (GB) v Dmitry Tursunov (Rus)
  • 1900 (approx): Johanna Konta (GB) v Alexsandra Krunic (Ser)
  • 0000: Simona Halep (Rom) v Maria Sharapova (Rus) – commentary on 5 live sports extra

The match of the day sees world number two Simona Halep up against former champion Maria Sharapova, playing her first Grand Slam tournament since completing a 15-month doping suspension.

The Russian has won all six previous matches against Halep, although they have not played each other since 2015.

They will meet in the opening night-session contest, which follows the opening ceremony at 00:00 on Tuesday, with German fourth seed Alexander Zverev to follow against Darian King of Barbados.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza opens play on Arthur Ashe Stadium against American Varvara Lepchenko at 16:00, followed by 2014 champion Marin Cilic, who takes Murray’s place in the draw against Tennys Sandgren of the USA.

Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also begin their campaigns on Monday.

It’s going to be tough – Konta

Konta faces Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic in the second match on Grandstand court

It is a mark of Konta’s elevated status that she is one of eight women who could end the tournament as world number one.

That remains a highly unlikely scenario, for now, but Konta’s hard-court record suggests she has every chance of surpassing her previous best of the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.

“I do love the hard courts but I think with every surface there’s an adjustment period,” said the seventh seed.

“Just because your results indicate that you’ve done better on a surface recently, it doesn’t mean for me personally that I straight away click.

“I think physically and approach-wise there’s an adaptation process.”

The Briton, 26, has only won two of four matches since reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals but believes “the quality of matches has been good”.

Krunic, 24, enjoyed her best Grand Slam performance at the US Open when she beat Madison Keys and Petra Kvitova before losing narrowly to Victoria Azarenka, but that was three years ago.

She is now ranked 77th but there were warning signs for Konta in the Serb’s win over French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in Cincinnati earlier this month.

Konta will not make the mistake of looking past Krunic, and her coach Wim Fissette is charged with coming up with a gameplan to overcome the 5ft 4in Serb.

“I don’t look at the draw because I approach every tournament from the get-go that it’s going to be tough, and I accept that fact,” said Konta.

“All I need to be aware of is once I’ve talked to my coaches, what’s my gameplan for the opponent that I’m playing?”

Norrie ‘stoked’ with qualifying success

Cameron Norrie did not drop a set in three US Open qualifying matches

Watson, 25, is hoping to claim her first main-draw win at Flushing Meadows at the seventh attempt, and her recent form gives cause for optimism.

After slipping outside the top 100, the British number two is back up to 74th following a successful grass-court season and is desperate to end her poor New York run.

“I genuinely think it’s just coincidence – let’s go with that,” she joked of her 0-6 record in New York. “It has to be because I won the juniors [in 2009], all my titles are on hard courts.”

Edmund, 22, arrived late in New York as a result of his semi-final appearance in Winston Salem – his second semi-final of the US hard-court season.

Norrie came through qualifying at a Grand Slam event at the first time of asking, and the 22-year-old is full of confidence after turning professional earlier this year.

“I’m stoked,” said the former US college champion.

“I’ve been working real hard on my routines in between points and I feel real focused and I’m playing every point, competing really well, so I’m really happy.”

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