Dan Evans gave a reminder of just what a talented player he is by pushing defending champion Roger Federer in the second round of the Australian Open.
The 28-year-old from Birmingham reached his career high two years ago by defeating Marin Cilic in Melbourne to make the fourth round before the self-inflicted exile of a cocaine ban left him having to start again.
He has worked his way back to 189 in the rankings in less than a year and should return quickly to the top 100 if he can maintain the form he showed here in a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-3 defeat.
His four victories here in qualifying and the main draw will see him back up to around 160, while Federer can look forward to a 20th consecutive appearance in the third round.
The Swiss said: “I think he played very well. It was hard to pull away and that’s to his credit. I was happy to win the first set, that was big.
“It feels like playing a mirror a little bit. I maybe just have a little bit more size and a bit more on my serve and maybe that was the difference.”
After the criticism of Federer’s favourable scheduling in Melbourne by former French player Julien Benneteau in November that caused so much fuss, this was a rare day session match for the Swiss, who has not lost to a player ranked as low as Evans for nearly 20 years.
But the heat was not an issue, with conditions cool and cloudy, and there was even a brief delay for rain in the ninth game of the opening set.
This was a match for the purists, with Evans’ single-handed backhand and all-court game not unlike Federer’s, and the British player showed during the first set that he is a fine competitor, too.
Despite the highly competitive nature of the game Down Under, the two players did have time for a brief chat mid-match after hearing a crying baby in the crowd.
Due to the disruption, Evans asked Federer if he was happy to carry on playing, which the Swiss then deflected back onto his opponent.
This then led to a rather amusing interaction between the pair which can be seen in the video below.
It's good to see that despite the competitive nature of the game, the two players can still have fun with each other.News Now - Sport News