Evans proud of Federer performance despite Australian Open defeat
Tennis

Evans proud of Federer performance despite Australian Open defeat

16 January 2019 / 09:11
Dan Evans' plaudits could hardly have been higher after drawing comparisons to Roger Federer following his Australian Open exit - all from the tennis legend himself.

The Brit was felled in straight sets by 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer, but that only tells part of the story of a 7-6 7-6 6-3 second-round defeat that had all corners of the Rod Laver Arena showing their appreciation.

His stroke-making in particular provided Federer with plenty of headaches, needing tie-breaks to open up a two-set advantage after Evans had broken back late in the second set.

But it wasn’t to be for the world No.189 as the defending champion showed his class to reach the third round, though disappointment was far from the overriding emotion on court for Evans.

“It was a tough match, all credit to Roger – that’s why he’s the great player, he comes through those tough tests,” he said.

“I had a chance in the first set but that was about it, I’m proud of that performance in what was a very tough game.

“It was great to be out there, I thought I settled in really well – the tennis wasn’t really my worry, it was about whether I’d settle into the game.

“I did that pretty well so I’m happy with everything apart from the result, I can look back and can be pretty happy with how I played.

“Roger has said some nice things after the match, it’s flattering, it was good fun out there and well played to him.”

Evans had never taken more than five games off a Federer set in their previous meetings but cast that to one side after forcing a first-set tie-break, one which he could have won.

It was Federer who opened up the advantage, however, bagging the second set soon after, though he was forced to work hard for his lead despite breaking Evans in the first game.

A tie-break was once again needed but the six-time Australian Open champion upped his game in the third, and ultimately final, set, but there was only one man he was praising come the winning moment.

"It felt like playing in a mirror a little bit. That was the mindset I had – how would I play myself potentially," said the 37-year-old.

“He has a lot of sliced backhand, he can serve and volley but perhaps the extra size in my serve was the difference.

“I couldn’t pull away early in the match, it always helps when you can sneak in a quick break and then you can start pressing even more.

“He played very well, I thought I played well, margins are slim if you don’t win the set points like I had early on.”

Meanwhile, 2016 semi-finalist Johanna Konta will take to the court as Britain’s last singles representative after Katie Boulter also suffered second-round defeat in Melbourne.

The 22-year-old lost to Aryna Sabalenka, a Belarusian who is expected to be one of the favourites to lift the Australian Open title.

Boulter had already secured a memorable win over former semi-finalist Ekaterina Makarova in the first round but couldn’t get past the No.11 seed, losing 6-3 6-4.

That was despite breaking Sabalenka in the opening game of the match, broken back immediately before another steal off serve saw the world No.97 miss out on the first set.

A further break came in the third game of the second set and that proved enough, with Boulter’s creditable performance not rewarded with victory in Melbourne.

Brits were also involved in doubles action, though it wasn’t to be for Rio 2016 Olympian Heather Watson and her German partner Tatjana Maria, though they did take fourth seeds Kveta Peschke and Nicole Melichar all the way before losing 6-1 4-6 6-4.

There was better luck for Jonny O’Mara and Luke Bambridge as they overcame Marton Fucsovics and Marius Copil 6-3 6-1 to progress in the men’s doubles.

The fourth day of action will see Konta take to the court against 18th seed Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza, set to do battle around 8am on Thursday morning.

Sportsbeat 2019