SYDNEY, Australia - World No.9 Johanna Konta will return to defend her title at the Sydney International in January, the tournament confirmed today. The Briton will also be joined by US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
This January, the 26-year-old tore through the Sydney draw to lift the trophy without dropping a set, a dominant performance that culminated in a 6-4, 6-2 upset of Agnieszka Radwanska in the final. It was Konta's second title and set her up for a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals - where she was stopped only by eventual champion Serena Williams.
"Winning Sydney is one of my highlights of this year and really helped to kick start what’s been the best season of my career so far," Konta said.
"I have some wonderful memories of playing in Sydney. The tournament holds a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to come back and defend my title in 2018."
Stephens, on the other hand, will be making her debut in Sydney, having previously warmed up in Brisbane, Hobart and Auckland. The 24-year-old first made a splash at Grand Slam level when she reached the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open - memories she's seeking to draw on when she returns.
"I’m really looking forward to kicking off my season in Sydney next year," said the World No.13.
"I’ve had great results in Australia in the past – reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open in 2013 was a real highlight – and I can’t wait to continue that form."
Konta and Stephens join a line-up that already includes seven-time Slam champion Venus Williams and reigning Roland Garros victor Jelena Ostapenko.