Stephens, Konta to play Sydney International

Sydney - US Open titlist Sloane Stephens and defending champion Johanna Konta will boost a strong women's draw for the Sydney International in January, organisers said on Friday.

World number 13 Stephens and ninth-ranked Konta join seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the field for the January 7-13 event as they warm up for the Australian Open. 

American Stephens has enjoyed a remarkable comeback season, vaulting more than 900 places up the rankings from August to September after almost a year out with a left foot injury.

Konta followed this year's Sydney win with a quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open and went on to claim a second WTA Premier title in Miami. 

"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," British star Konta said. 

Luxembourg's Gilles Muller will be back to defend his Sydney men's title along with Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

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