Konta, Venus make early exits in Sydney

Defending champion Johanna Konta was bundled out in the first round of the Sydney International by Agnieszka Radwanska and Venus Williams also lost her first match of the tournament yesterday.

Radwanska, who was overpowered in 82 minutes by Konta in last year's final, raced to a 6-3, 7-5 victory over the Briton at the Olympic Tennis Centre.

Neither player was able to dominate on service in the first set and Konta won just two of her 11 second-serve points as Radwanska converted three of her five break opportunities.

Konta again had trouble holding serve in the second set but showed signs of a fightback when she broke while trailing 4-1, but she could not push on as Radwanska sealed victory in an hour and 49 minutes.

Konta's first-round loss continued some worrying early-season performances for the world No. 9.

The 26-year-old struggled last week in Brisbane before withdrawing from her quarter-final with a hip injury.

Second seed Williams was beaten 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 by Angelique Kerber in under two hours, with the German fighting back to seal her place in the last eight as Williams struggled with her serve.

Radwanska, who was upset by American qualifier Sachia Vickery in the Auckland quarter-finals last week, meets American qualifier Catherine Bellis in the second round, while Kerber faces Dominika Cibulkova in the quarter-finals. - REUTERS