Dan Evans’ remarkable run at the Australian Open continued as he defeated 27th seed Bernard Tomic 7-5, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3) to advance to the fourth round. The Brit, who will enter the Top 50 for the first time in his career, had defeated seventh seed Marin Cilic in the previous round and is in a rich vein of form after having reached the final in Sydney last week.
Evans started off the stronger, breaking his higher ranked opponent to start off proceedings. It would begin a trend that saw four of the first six games go the way of the returner. The set was back to 5-5 before Evans broke serve for a 6-5 lead and he held to love to close out the opener, a set to the good.
The Brit was back on the attack early in the second, breaking for a 2-0 lead, Tomic clearly frustrated with Evans’ offensive game and skills at the net. He would take a 5-4 lead and had chances to go up two sets with a 15-40 lead. Tomic used his backhand to great effect as he expertly saved both to go on and eventually hold.
Evans used his own backhand to ward off two set points on his serve and he would hold for a tiebreak. It was there that the Brit played his finest tennis of the match, thumping the Aussie 7-2 when Tomic netted a forehand. Evans was now up two sets to none, the crowd diffused and the Brit on the verge of a career breakthrough.
The third set was played on even terms and at 4-4, it was Tomic who earned a break point at 30-40, but Evans’ powerful groundstrokes got him out of trouble again, a blistering forehand getting him back to deuce and eventually a hold.
There was a short rain delay at 5-5, lasting seven minutes where it was decided that the roof on Hisense Arena would remain open. Following the delay, both men held their serves and the set would conclude with a tiebreak. A brilliant forehand, angled off perfectly, gave Evanns a minibreak and a 3-2 lead. He would run away with the rest of the tiebreak, winning it 7-3 and brushing aside Tomic to record another massive victory.
Against Tsonga, Evans will be a big underdog, but his style is the same as the Frenchman: an offensive power player who will look to move forward, something the 12th seed does on a regular basis. The pressure all falls to Tsonga, as he is expected to defeat Evans, despite the Brit’s excellent play to start the season.
Evans is the feel-good story on the men’s side as he’s in his first career Round of 16 at a major. He’s won seven of his last eight matches and he should be able to play against Tsonga with no pressure while coming out swinging freely.