Konta upsets rusty Stephens, Kvitova rallies in Brisbane

Sloane Stephens made a poor start to 2019, losing to the unseeded Johanna Konta in straight sets in Brisbane.

Johanna Konta acknowledges the crowd after beating Sloane Stephens   -  Getty Images

Johanna Konta set about trying to banish the memories of a poor 2018 by claiming the scalp of Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Brisbane International on New Year's Day.

Konta plummeted down the rankings last season but started 2019 with a 6-4 6-3 defeat of third seed Stephens.

The unseeded Konta, now coached by Dimitri Zavialoff after parting with Michael Joyce, capitalised on a rusty display from the 2017 US Open champion to march into round two.

Konta will face Ajla Tomljanovic after breaking twice in each set, with Stephens winning just 52 points on her first serve in her first match on Pat Rafter Arena in five years.

Kvitova, Osaka register wins

Petra Kvitova was in danger of following the world number six out of the tournament but rallied to defeat Danielle Collins 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova needed just over three hours to defeat the American, who paid the price for failing to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set.

US Open champion Naomi Osaka eased into the third round with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Destanee Aiava, while Anastasija Sevastova was a first-round winner over Daria Gavrilova.

Lesia Tsurenko joined Osaka in round three at the expense of Kimberly Birrell - who knocked out Daria Kasatkina on New Year's Eve.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich will face top seed and defending champion Elina Svitolina in the second round after seeing off Anastasia Potapova.