Dan Evans (right) has won one of the past 13 matches he has played against top 10-ranked opponents

Dan Evans was unable to match his best run at the Australian Open as defeat by ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime ended British interest in the singles.

British men’s number two Evans, seeded 24th, was beaten 6-4 6-1 6-1 by the Canadian in the Melbourne third round.

Evans, 31, lost a tight opener after two sloppy errors at 5-4, handing over the set and the momentum.

Auger-Aliassime also dominated the big points in the second set and cruised through the third to reach the last 16.

Evans is the last of seven Britons to fall in the singles at Melbourne Park, after the earlier exits of Andy Murray, Emma Raducanu, Cameron Norrie, Heather Watson, Harriet Dart and Liam Broady.

Evans received a walkover into the third round after France’s Arthur Rinderknech withdrew through injury.

He was aiming to move into the last 16 for the second time in his career after reaching the same stage in 2017.

“It’s tough to say the walkover had a negative effect on me, but maybe I would have to deal with it better next time if it happened. I had a lot of time to think,” said Evans.

Auger-Aliassime, who also reached the Melbourne fourth round last year, will face Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev or Croatia’s Marin Cilic in the last 16.

Evans philosophical after ‘good’ Australian swing

Evans made a fantastic start to the 2022 season, winning all three of his matches at the ATP Cup and reaching the semi-finals in Sydney.

A straight-set win against Belgium’s David Goffin at Melbourne Park maintained his run of positive results, but he did not have to hit a ball on the match court to reach the third round after Rinderknech pulled out.

“I wasn’t at the races as I have been and losing is difficult to take. But it has been a good swing here in Australia and a lot of positives to take,” Evans said.

“Losing here today is not the be all and end all. Losing is part of the sport.”

After four days without a match, Evans started well on serve – despite being irritated by loud music from an outside stage drifting over onto court – and created the first break points of the match.

The Briton dumped a forehand into the net at 2-2, before a double fault from Auger-Aliassime gave him another opportunity at 4-4.

This time, the Canadian’s deep baseline returning and an ace denied Evans taking a crucial lead.

The scoreboard pressure then told on Evans.

At 5-4, a rare foray forward ended with a stretching volley being pushed long for 30-40 and a forehand drive volley into the net on set point – the first break opportunity of the match for Auger-Aliassime – left Evans trailing.

“It was a bit of a snowball effect. I was nervous, it was difficult and it was a big opportunity,” Evans said.

“I didn’t take care of business when I had break points so that made it a little worse for how I was feeling.”

Australian Open: Dan Evans loses to Felix Auger-Aliassime in Melbourne
Fellow Britons Andy Murray, Joe Salisbury and Davis Cup captain Leon Smith supported Evans on court. “They probably wish they hadn’t wasted their time,” Evans joked afterwards

Evans’ despondency at losing the opener in such a manner appeared to carry over into the second set.

A double-fault allowed Auger-Aliassime to break for a 2-0 lead and Evans continued to struggle on first serve.

The Canadian took advantage to go a double-break up at 4-0 and comfortably saw out a set where Evans landed 50% of his first serves.

After Evans held at the start the third set, the one-sided nature of the contest quickly resumed. Auger-Aliassime broke for 2-1 and then dropped just four more points as he cruised to victory.

“It is tough not to feel better, it is one of the best Grand Slam performances I’ve had,” said Auger-Aliassime.

“Everything was working for me today, I’m happy to be through in straight sets.”

Beatles and Elton John covers provides unusual atmosphere

Evans suffered the same fate as Murray and Broady by losing on John Cain Arena, which is known as the ‘people’s court’ because it is open to non-ticket holders.

Usually that leads to a boisterous atmosphere in the stands but, on this occasion, the noise drifting onto court during the opening five games came from live music on a stage entertaining fans outside.

It was a bizarre situation, one not befitting such an important Grand Slam match, and irritated Evans in particular.

Evans created a break point for 3-2 as a version of The Beatles’ Hey Jude played out, but put the forehand into the net and let umpire Jaume Campistol know his feelings at the changeover.

“It’s not like it’s a little bit loud, it’s on the court,” Evans told the official.

The tunes soon stopped and allowed Evans to focus on the set which mattered – the opening one of the match, not the musical variety.

Afterwards, Evans joked they should have kept the music on.

“I played better with it on,” he said. “It was probably the best part of the match, listening to that, I think ‘Rocketman’ by Elton John.”



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