Sloane Stephens is set to face Johanna Konta in the opening round of the 2018 WTA Brisbane International in Australia. This is the first match of the season so both Konta and Stephens will be desperate to begin their 201 campaign in a winning manner.
Sloane Stephens had a strong end to the 2018 season as she finished second at the WTA Finals in Singapore. It was a strong performance by Stephens at that event as she beat the likes of the Angelique Kerber, Kiki Bertens and Naomi Osaka in the round robin stage before beating Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals. Stephens has established herself as one of the top players on the WTA Tour and she has had good results in this leg of the tour as she won the Auckland Open in the past. With such a strong 2018 season on her side, Sloane Stephens will be tough to beat in this tournament.
On the other side of the court, Johanna Konta enters this tournament hoping to cause a major upset. Konta, no representing the UK, was once an Australian meaning she should be very familiar with the conditions present at Brisbane. This leg of the tour has been very strong for Konta in the past as she won the WTA Sydney International in 2017. Konta had a strong 2018 season but opening her 2019 season against Sloane Stephens will not be easy since the Brit is playing one of the top-ranked players in the world.
Johanna Konta and Sloane Stephens have never played each other in the past.
Taking everything into consideration, I am going to pick Sloane Stephens to win this match. While Konta is experienced in Australia, she will struggle against an elite player in Sloane Stephens who is in good form. I see Sloane Stephens starting her 2019 campaign with a win.