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Konta, Edmund & Watson aim for last 32

Konta, Edmund & Watson aim for last 32

Australian Open 2017
Venue: Melbourne Park, Melbourne Dates: 16-29 Jan
Coverage: Daily live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website.

British trio Johanna Konta, Kyle Edmund and Heather Watson will attempt to reach the Australian Open third round on Thursday.

Konta, who won the Sydney International last week, takes on Japan’s Naomi Osaka at 00:00 GMT.

The 25-year-old ninth seed beat Osaka 6-4 6-4 in 2015 US Open qualifying – their only previous meeting.

Edmund plays Pablo Carreno Busta, while Watson will reach the last 32 if she beats Jennifer Brady.

Like Konta, world number 46 Edmund is first on court, with Watson to follow at approximately 01:30 GMT.

Konta prepared for Osaka ‘battle’

Konta began her campaign with a commanding 7-5 6-2 win over Belgian former top-20 player Kirsten Flipkens and, given her impressive early season form, will hope to improve on her run to the semi-final last year.

However, Osaka’s power is a threat to those ambitions.

The world number 48 has hit the fastest female serve of the tournament so far at 123mph and delivered nine aces in her first-round victory over Luksika Kumkhum.

The 19-year-old reached the third round at the Australian, French and US Opens last year.

I remember playing her and since then she’s improved a lot, Konta said.

I know she plays a big game. She has big shots. I’m definitely prepared to go in for a battle.

Unknown opponents for Watson and Edmund

After losing in the opening round of the Australian Open in the past two years, Yorkshire’s Edmund is into uncharted territory.

The 22-year-old’s only previous encounter with 30th seed Carreno Busta was a defeat on clay at a lower-tier Futures event in 2013.

Should Edmund win, it will be the first time three British players have made it to the third round of the Australian Open.

Watson’s third-round defeat by Agnieszka Radwanska in 2013 is her best run in Melbourne and she will be favourite to match that with victory against Brady, who is ranked 35 places lower at 116.

Source: BBC Sport

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