Injury puts question mark on Konta’s Aus Open
JOHANNA Konta is unsure if her Australian Open preparations are in jeopardy after she was forced to retire from her Brisbane International quarter-final due to injury.
The world No. 9 succumbed to a right hip problem early in the second game of the third set of her clash against Ukraine's Eline Svitolina on Thursday at Pat Rafter Arena.
Due to defend her title at the Sydney International next week, Konta was reluctant to speculate about the injury.
"I'll find out more tomorrow morning," she told reporters.
"I only know kind of the initial feelings of it, which is not always so trustworthy.
"So I don't feel too comfortable saying really too much because, actually, I don't know yet.
"Hopefully it's nothing more than a low-grade strain and more muscle spasm."
Konta said it was an entirely new injury and unlike anything she had experienced before in her career.
It is a spanner in the works for the Sydney-born Brit, who looked to be tuning up beautifully ahead of the Australian Open, where she made the quarter-finals last year and the semis in 2016.
Konta had looked in scintillating touch early in the match, saving four break points in a nearly flawless first set that made Svitolina, her doubles partner and the world's No. 6-ranked player, look second rate.
But Svitolina soon recovered to force the second set into a tie-breaker and the clash was heading for an intriguing conclusion at 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 3-2 when Konta pulled the pin.
She became the second high-profile player to do so after world No. 2 Garbine Muguruza retired injured in her second-round clash against Alaksandra Krunic on Tuesday.
Konta said there were still plenty of positives she could draw from her Brisbane run.
"I think overall I've played better and better tennis, and I've managed to really fight through some challenging situations," she said.
"Even losing that second set, I don't feel like - having done not much wrong, I think, is a really good experience for me to have so early in the season."
Svitolina will face defending champion Karolina Pliskova or Estonian Kaia Kanepi on Friday for a spot in Saturday's women's singles decider.
Earlier, Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich prevailed 3-6 6-2 6-3 over France's Alize Cornet, who was ranked 50 spots ahead of her at No. 88 in the world.
She will meet Latvian seventh seed Anastasija Sevastova, who beat Serb Aleksandra Krunic 6-2 6-4 on Thursday night, in the final four and is optimistic about her chances.
"In the beginning, I couldn't even imagine that I (would) pass the quallie and be in the semis. So it's an incredible week for me," Sasnovich said.