Women's Sport: Harriet Dart makes it four British athletes in the main draw of Australian Open

2019 US Open - Qualifying & Training

Harriet Dart became the fourth British woman to reach the main draw of the Australian Open after winning her final qualifier on Friday.

The 23-year-old joins Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Katie Boulter in the main draw.

It was a seemingly easy run into the main draw for Dart and the Brit progressed without dropping a set during qualification.

Her final qualifier against Italy’s Giulia Gatto-Monticone was no different as Dart breezed past the 32-year-old 6-1, 6-3.

Meanwhile, Heather Watson missed out on a place in the final of the Hobart International after a narrow 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 against the tournament’s third-seed Elena Rybakina.

Konta to miss Fed Cup

2019 US Open - Day 9

Johanna Konta has dealt a blow to her fellow Fed Cup teammates after withdrawing from the competition.

The British number one has revealed she will not be participating in order to protect her body following an ongoing battle with a knee injury. Konta has not played in a major competition since the US Open last year.

“I need to take care of my body and take some decisions which are not always easy,” the 28-year-old explained ahead of her appearance at the Australian Open.

New challenges for the main draw

The Australian Open is set to begin next week after controversial conditions disrupted qualifying with several players complaining of poor air quality.

Reports from EPA Victoria shows an improvement in air quality on in the coming weeks, but now the competition could be hit by incoming storms.

The competition kicks off in Melbourne Park on Monday and players will be expecting good air quality. However, some of the east coast of Australia have already been hit by rainstorms with some areas seeing more than a month’s rain in one day.

Bureau meteorologist Sarah Scully said that although the rain was relieving the effect of the bushfires and improving air quality it was “a bit of a double-edged sword”.

"Heavy rainfall and gusty thunderstorms bring the potential for flash flooding, particularly in the burnt-out areas of NSW and Victoria which are now vulnerable to landslips and trees coming down,” she said.

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