Over the previous couple of years, the easiest he has produced, Dan Evans has grown accustomed to the feeling of being the final British man standing in any given event. Loads of instances he has soared, however on Saturday night his sport crumbled earlier than the John Cain Area crowd.
Evans’s Australian Open led to brutal trend by the hands of an environment friendly and mature Félix Auger-Aliassime. The ninth seed withstood early strain after which picked Evans aside by the top, profitable 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 to succeed in the fourth spherical on the event for the primary time.
Afterwards, Evans famous the standard of Auger-Aliassime’s play however he was, as ever, sincere in his evaluation of his efficiency. “I panicked on the court docket,” Evans stated. “It was whole. I missed my probability and I panicked a bit and that occurs in tennis. I’m not going to sit down right here and say he was too good. I panicked and I felt that.”
There was cause for Evans to imagine that he might engineer a greater ending. He has began the yr strongly, profitable his first 5 matches throughout the ATP Cup and a Sydney semi-final run. When he and Auger-Aliassime met within the last of the Murray River Open performed at Melbourne Park final yr, Evans steamrolled Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 6-3.
After his simple first-round win over David Goffin, Evans’ second-round opponent, Arthur Rinderknech, withdrew on the morning of their match. Evans initially thought it was an excellent slice of luck however the break finally labored towards him, robbing him of his rhythm and leaving him with further time to overthink his third-round match. He had by no means skilled this example in a significant.
“I’m not making excuses however it wasn’t simple to have a walkover and I form of misplaced my momentum just a little bit and I by no means had that earlier than, two days off,” he stated. “It was troublesome. I assumed concerning the match quite a bit and doubtless overthought it. And to be sincere, he was method higher than me as nicely. However I feel I didn’t get my sport on court docket.”
The primary set performed out to an uncommon soundtrack, a live performance throughout the Melbourne Park grounds, with the off-pitch belts of a canopy singer botching Beatles and Elton John songs. “I don’t know what that was, however really, they need to have stored it on,” stated Evans, smiling. “I performed higher with it on. No, It was most likely the perfect a part of the match, listening to that, I feel Rocket Man by Elton John.”
Within the early levels, Evans appeared to have settled nicely. He tried to pin Auger-Aliassime in his backhand nook along with his backhand slice, complicating the Canadian’s makes an attempt to dominate along with his inside-out forehand whereas seeking to expose Auger-Aliassime’s impatience. He was initially profitable, yielding early break factors at 2-2 and 4-4.
However the 21-year-old is a distinct participant to the teen who froze of their last a yr in the past. He’s now constantly making deep runs in large occasions, having reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals and US Open semi-finals in his most up-to-date majors. His expertise is rising and he sits at a profession excessive of No 9 after main Canada to victory within the ATP Cup. “I feel I’m simply extra relaxed and extra composed and have higher self-confidence that I can go into second week, I can go into quarters or extra,” he stated.
Beneath strain within the first set, Auger-Aliassime served extraordinarily nicely and directed his forehand with readability to carry serve twice from break level down. Then, at 5-4, Auger-Aliassime landed returns, demonstrated his improved shot tolerance by grinding out errors from the Briton and reached set level a 30-40. Evans responded by dumping a routine forehand drive volley into the online. He then double-faulted twice in his opening service sport of the second set and the momentum definitively shifted as Auger-Aliassime ended the match with 14 of the ultimate 16 video games.
Regardless of the frustration, Evans closed off his day by stressing the positives earlier than a protracted season to come back. “I began the yr nicely, I’ve had some good wins, had actual momentum going into the match and one match is one match. I’ve obtained to overlook about it,” he stated. “It could be one other mistake if I maintain worrying about that match what’s simply occurred, so it’s simply time to park it and transfer on.”
In the meantime, Daniil Medvedev, the second seed, outclassed Botic van de Zandschlp 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to succeed in the fourth spherical. Stefanos Tsitsipas later survived the skills of Benoît Paire, advancing 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (2), 6-4.