The only British singles player left in the Australian Open, Dan Evans, will look to book his place in the fourth round of the Australian Open as he takes on Felix Auger-Aliassime on Saturday.
Meanwhile, fellow Brit Emma Raducanu, clearly impacted by a blister on her hand, bowed out of the competition as she lost to Danka Kovinic. The 19-year-old, who is an MBE and was awarded BBC Sport Personality of the Year, used an improvised slice to adapt to the injury she was carrying, and despite her loss, she took her opponent the distance and showed she has tactical acumen and tenacity.
After the defeat, she said: “I thought it was a pretty good learning experience for me — I learnt I had some tools that I didn’t know I had before.”
Evans endured a mixed 2021, as he beat Novak Djokovic on clay, before going on a poor run of form towards the back end of the year, which saw him lose five of his last eight matches in 2021.
But Evans has put his rocky form well behind him, and has been in good form this year, with the Brit winning six matches and only losing to Aslan Karatsev in Sydney.
The Brit has reached this stage in the tournament by beating Belgium’s David Goffin straight sets win of 6-4, 6-3, 6-0, before being awarded a walkover against Arthur Rinderknech of France who had a wrist injury, therefore setting up a mouth watering tie against Auger-Aliassime.
The right-handed 31-year-old is currently ranked 24, and will be looking to better his peak in the rankings of 22, and to beat his best run at the Australian Open, where he was knocked out in the last 16 in 2017.
Evans has said there aren’t enough British stars at the event, saying after his first round win: “There is not enough, as simple as that. “We need more people inside the 250 coming to these tournaments. We’re getting better at this level, but at the lower levels we need more and I just think the top 25 in Britain is not strong enough.”
The main talking point of the Australian Open has been the debacle with Djokovic, but with that now in the past, it can be the men on the courts hitting headlines.
Evans vs Auger-Aliassime should be a very good watch, with the British number 2 impressing with his backhand, and his Canadian opponent proving very strong with precise shots and being a good all-rounder. The earliest the two will take to the court will be 6am, which provides a better viewing time for Brits backing Evans.
How can you watch Evans?
- TV: Eurosport 1 (Sky channel 410, BT 435, Virgin 521), Eurosport 2 (Sky 411, BT 436, Virgin 522)
- Live stream: Online-only Discovery+ subscription sport package available for £6.99 per month; also purchasable as bolt-on to Amazon Prime Video for same price although the number of available matches will be lower.
Evans will be hoping to cause a slight upset in the John Cain arena.