Australian Open news: Dan Evans gets walkover while Heather Watson ‘happy’ with effort despite exit

Dan Evans plays a shot

Dan Evans reached the third round of the Australian Open without hitting a ball but Heather Watson was beaten by Tamara Zidansek.

Evans had been due to take on Arthur Rinderknech at Melbourne Park on Thursday but received a walkover prior to the start of play when the Frenchman withdrew because of a wrist injury.

It means Evans, who comfortably beat David Goffin in round one, is through to the last 32 in Melbourne for the first time since 2017, when he made the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the first time.

Watson lost a very close match against 19th seed Zidansek in Adelaide last week, and there was little to choose between the pair again here but it was the Slovenian who went through 7-6 (4) 6-4.

Watson twice fought back from a break down in the opening set and had a set point at 5-6 but Zidansek saved it, played a strong tie-break and then broke the British number two’s serve twice in succession to claim the victory.

Watson spoke after her first-round win over Mayar Sherif about the positive mindset she is in after a pre-season training block in Florida, and she was not downhearted about her performance.

“I felt like I played a really tough opponent today,” said Watson, who has moved her training base to Bolton Arena while boyfriend Courtney Duffus plays football for Morecambe.

Heather Watson in action

Heather Watson hits a forehand during her defeat by Tamara Zidansek (Tertius Pickard/AP)

“She played really well. I couldn’t find really any holes in her game. I just tried to stick with her. I felt like she raised her level a lot from last week.

“I came off court and I wasn’t mad at myself or anything. I felt like I gave everything I had with what I had today. I don’t think it was my best tennis, but it was far from my worst.

“I was happy with my effort and my fight and my focus. I can’t wait to play the next tournament. I feel ready to go. I want to keep working hard, keep my fitness up, and I’m looking forward to this year.”

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