Dan Evans will surely never play at such an excellent level as this for so long on a major stage, and lose – except, probably, if the opponent is Roger Federer again.
On day three of the Australian Open, Evans pushed the defending champion to the limits of his genius – reminiscent of his fine losing effort against Stan Wawrinka in the third round of the 2015 US Open – before Federer got it done in just over two-and-a-half hours, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.
The winner said courtside, “I couldn’t pull away early in the match, which was to his credit. I thought I played well. The margins are slim if you don’t win those close points.”
In reference to the similarities in their method and tennis philosophy, from the one-handed backhands to the sliced returns, as well as their willingness to attack at ever opportunity, Federer added, “My thoughts going in was that I was playing myself, potentially. I had maybe a little more size.”