Brtain’s Dan Evans qualifies for Australian Open main draw

Published: Saturday 16th January 2016 by The News Editor

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Great Britain’s Dan Evans qualified for Australian Open main draw with a three-set victory over American Bjorn Fratangelo in their third-round qualifying match in Melbourne.

Evans qualified for the main event for the first time in his career with a 7-5 4-6 6-0 victory over the 22-year-old.

Evans capitalised on six of his nine break-point opportunities to knock out the American, who is ranked 54 places higher than the Briton.

He said: “It’s nice (qualifying for the main draw). I worked hard in pre-season in La Manga, even in the summer when I was playing in England in the Futures I was trying to work pretty hard and it was playing tennis and staying professional.

“I think that’s the difference, just staying focused on court and staying more interested and focused in just playing tennis rather than all the other stuff, and that’s pretty much what I did.”

Evans wanted to be aggressive in the deciding set and felt having already beaten Fratangelo twice, getting ahead would play on the American’s mind, saying: “I tried to hold in the first game. It didn’t feel like he was on top or any different from when I won the first set.

“So I tried to jump on him early and then carried on rolling from there. That was my plan, just to get a lead in the third. I’d beaten him twice and your belief can start to go when you’re losing again to someone who has beaten you twice. It’s tough.”

Evans was spurred on by British number one Andy Murray is his second-round qualifier against Amir Weintraub and took confidence from the support.

He added: “It’s funny how things work out isn’t it? I was pretty low after losing that second set but funny things happen. Those things change tournaments. I said to leon the next morning, ‘how good is it to still be in?” I could have woken up and not been in but I am so it’s good.”

Davis Cup captain Leon Smith was in the crowd to watch the 25-year-old and he said: “I’ve so pleased for him because from the second half of last year he’s been on a journey to get back to the level we know he can play at.

“He did a massive jump in the second half of last year, finished well in the States and at the Challengers, I think what we’ve seen in the last few matches here is that he is getting close to where he was, which is a big step forwards for him. He’s still got a long way to go, to get back ranking-wise.”

Evans is looking forward to the chance of playing Davis Cup when GB begin the defence of the trophy in his home town of Birmingham in March and said: “I said I’d try get in the best shape I’ve been in up until March because I’d really like to play Davis Cup. That would be the best thing I could ever do in tennis is play in Davis Cup.

“But you’ve got to win the matches. I’ve started well and I haven’t seen where the qualifiers go but hopefully there are some good spots and I can get going again.”

Published: Saturday 16th January 2016 by The News Editor

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