Australian Open: Federer battles through against Dan Evans

Ruben Hill
January 18, 2019

Australian Open: A fan reacts during Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut and Australia's John Millman Second Round match at Melbourne Park, Melbourne on January 16.

Roger Federer may not have lost a set to Dan Evans but the six-time Australian Open champion received a stern test from the plucky Briton as he moved through to the third round at Melbourne Park.

Anyway, Evans' job is to prove everyone (but mostly me) wrong this afternoon in Melbourne, when he takes to Rod Laver Arena.

Fritz upset 30-seed Gael Monfils in the second round.

"I think if I could have pulled away early in the match it might have been different", said the 37-year-old Swiss master who needed 2hr 35min to get past his 28-year-old opponent. "He played very well".

"It was hard to pull away and credit to him".

Eleventh seed Aryna Sabalenka, widely tipped as a potential future champion, also safely negotiated round one on a hot day. Federer, however, did not face a single break point during the match, such was his serving dominance.

Sharapova, a victor at Melbourne Park in 2008, signalled her intent with a rare 6-0, 6-0 double bagel demolition of Britain's Harriet Dart, who ended the match in tears.

But when assessing his odds of going all the way to win a record-breaking seventh Australian Open title, Federer reckons Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have a stronger chance.

Top-ranked Aussie woman Ashleigh Barty has matched her career-best result in her home grand slam by winning through to the third round of the 2019 Australian Open.

But Dutch ninth seed Kiki Bertens made an exit, losing 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The Wimbledon champion was helped along the way by Haddad Maia's 39 unforced errors.

The No. 14 seed faces a tough second-round match against journeyman Viktor Troicki.

Fifth seed Kevin Anderson also progressed against Adrian Mannarino, with last year's Wimbledon finalist a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 victor. Federer won 46 points in the match, which was only four more than Evans, but, crucially, the world No 3 saved his best for the biggest moments.

Fritz is joined in his first Australian Open third round by 20-year-old Frances Tiafoe who came from a set and a break down to shock No. 5 seed Kevin Anderson 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

Halep complained about an injury in the second set of her 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 triumph against Sofia Kenin and Karolina Pliskova fought from a set down to beat Madison Brengle 4-6 6-1 6-0.

The Croat now plays Spanish 26th seed Fernando Verdasco, who beat Radu Albot of Moldova.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka coasted into the third round of the Australian Open, while Simona Halep was again taken to three sets before triumphing and Garbine Muguruza won a marathon encounter.

In other high-profile men's matches, Grigor Dimitrov overcame Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5, and veteran Tomas Berdych was too good for Robin Haase, winning their tie 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich was in a jocular mood following her 6-3 6-3 victory over 20th seed Anett Kontaveit. "No, I'm not surprised [at how well he played]".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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