Australian Open '“ Dan Evans and Katie Boulter facing tough tests in Melbourne heat

Dan Evans and Katie Boulter both have their work cut out as they fly the British flag in the second round of the Australian Open.

Katie Boulter. Picture: Nigel French/PA
Katie Boulter. Picture: Nigel French/PA

Evans marked his return to grand slam tennis following his drugs ban with a victory over fellow qualifier Tatsuma Ito to earn a crack at two-time defending champion Roger Federer on Rod Laver Arena.

They have played twice before, in the third round of Wimbledon in 2016 and at the Hopman Cup the following January, with Federer winning comfortably both times.

Like Federer, Evans – whose ranking will rise to around 160 as a result of his three qualifying wins and the Ito victory – has a game for the purists, and the Swiss is happy to see him back.

Dan Evans. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

He said of their Wimbledon meeting: “I remember playing well. I remember the match more when I played against him at the Hopman Cup. I think it was my first match back after the knee issue.

“It was a good match. I liked the way he played. He’s got all the shots. Likes to take chances, takes the ball early. It’s nice to see him back on the tour as well. I’m happy for him that he won his first round.”

Boulter produced arguably the most impressive display of her career to defeat former Australian Open semi-finalist Ekaterina Makarova in a deciding tie-break.

The 22-year-old, who now faces 11th seed Aryna Sabalenka, has continued her fine form from a breakthrough 2018 and is determined to keep progressing.

She said: “I put so much hard work in last year to get to this point right here. I’m going to stay focused on the right things, I’m not going to be thinking about winning or losing, I’m just going to do the same thing every day for the next year.”

World No 1 Novak Djokovic was in dominant form ro reaxch the second round with a 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over American qualifier Mitchell Krueger.

Djokovic will next face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a rematch of the 2008 final, the Frenchman beating Martin Klizan 6-4 6-4 7-6 (5).

Nick Kyrgios will tumble further down the rankings after losing in the opening round to Milos Raonic.