Australian Open 2018: Johanna Konta and Heather Watson open campaigns on day two

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Melbourne Park
Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2016
2018 Australian Open
Dates: 15-28 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app. Live commentary on the best matches on BBC Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra and online.

British number one Johanna Konta will begin her Australian Open campaign on Tuesday, along with Simona Halep, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Ninth seed Konta plays American Madison Brengle on Hisense Arena at 00:00 GMT.

Compatriot Heather Watson is expected on court 13 at around 07:00 to face Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva.

Top seed Simona Halep faces Australian Destanee Aiava on Rod Laver Arena before Federer opens the night session at 08:00 against Aljaz Bedene.

Federer, 36, is looking to retain the title he won so remarkably last year and with it claim a 20th major title.

Djokovic, 30, will play his first competitive match since Wimbledon when he returns from an elbow injury against American Donald Young on Margaret Court Arena, not before 04:00.

Halep, 26, is still looking for her first major title but is not expected to be unduly troubled by 17-year-old wildcard Aiava.

Czech sixth seed Karolina Pliskova and German fourth seed Alexander Zverev also feature on Rod Laver Arena.

Britons face 'tricky' Brengle and 'fiery' Putintseva

Konta, 26, has reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals on her last two visits to Melbourne Park, and will hope to hit the ground running against Brengle.

The American, ranked 90th, has won three of their four previous meetings, but Konta won the last and has surged up the rankings since those early contests.

"She's a tricky player. One thing's for sure, you never go up against her underestimating her," Konta said.

"She is incredibly tough in the way she competes, the amount of balls she's able to get back."

Konta, who is working with American coach Michael Joyce this season, carries the most serious hopes of British success in the singles following the withdrawal of Andy Murray through injury.

"I'm coming into the event like all the other events: I'm here to do the best I can with the challenge that I'm faced with," she added.

"I'm here to give it my best. Where it gets me is where it gets me. Obviously, it would be nice to be here two weeks later."

Heather Watson
Heather Watson has won one and lost one of her two previous matches against Yulia Putintseva

Watson, 25, arrives in Melbourne with five wins already under her belt in 2018 and a sense of optimism after mixed fortunes in 2017.

Ranked 14 places lower than Putintseva at 68 in the world, Watson is prepared for a tough encounter.

"She's a very fiery character, like a little bulldog, a fighter," said Watson.

"She expresses herself a lot on the court, very vocal, so it'll be a very entertaining match.

"I've been absolutely fine both times I've played her - that's just her so it wouldn't rattle me at all if that happened."

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