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Thursday, February 27
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Australian Open roundup: Watson prevails but Evans crashes out

:Headline: Australian Open roundup: Watson prevails but Evans crashes out: ID:387012: from db_amp
Waston defeated Kristyna Pliskova while Dan Evans lost in the second round.
PA | 1mo

Heather Watson battled her way into the second round of the Australian Open but Dan Evans’ campaign came to an end with a straight-sets defeat by Yoshihito Nishioka.

The British number one had the carrot of a potential third-round clash with Novak Djokovic but was second best throughout against his consistent Japanese opponent and lost 6-4 6-3 6-4.

Evans admitted afterwards that he had hoped not to face Nishioka, saying: “I knew it would be difficult. In all honesty, I didn’t want him to win against (Laslo) Djere.

Evans admitted he anticipated a difficult match against Yoshihito Nishioka (Andy Wong/AP)

“When it was windy like that I knew exactly how he would play and I couldn’t break him. I didn’t play great, but all credit to him, he played pretty good.

“Some days you look forward to matches and I didn’t look forward to it. I just find him overly awkward. He made it literally as awkward as possible.”

Evans insisted he had given the best he had despite his dislike of facing Nishioka, adding: “I still walk on the court thinking I can win the match.

“He just makes it difficult for me, I don’t like playing him. You know how you feel in yourself as well, it’s going to be a tough day, but put it on the court and I did that and it wasn’t good enough.”

Despite the disappointing end to his first grand slam tournament as a seed, Evans can reflect on an excellent start to the year, with a new career-high ranking of 32 thanks to his tremendous performances for Great Britain at the ATP Cup.

He said: “Obviously to start the year with such drama with my matches and then the doubles at ATP Cup, I can only look back and be happy.

“It was great to be there, part of that tournament, and then the grand slams are always good. I love coming to Melbourne. I’ve enjoyed it. It was a difficult day.

“But I’ve got to look back at a lot of points and good moves up the rankings.”

Evans remained upbeat about his season so far despite his second-round defeat (Andy Wong/AP)

There was much better news for Watson, whose match against Kristyna Pliskova was a victim of the over-loaded schedule on Tuesday and held back.

Windy conditions in Melbourne made life tricky but it was tall Czech Pliskova, the identical twin sister of world number two Karolina, who ended up struggling the most.

That had a lot to do with Watson, who was unlucky to lose the first set but fought back brilliantly, sealing the second set with an ace before taking the match 4-6 6-3 6-1.

Watson said: “Being the first-round match and it being postponed, I felt a bit nervous on court in the first set and was a bit tense.

“But after that I managed to loosen up and relax and start enjoying it and I thought my game improved more and more as the match went on.

“I don’t mind the wind at all. I like it and the way I play – slice, drop shots, and change of pace balls – I think it works well in the wind, and I’m patient.”

Watson arrived in Melbourne in good form after reaching the semi-finals of the Hobart International and she should feel positive for her clash with 16th seed Elise Mertens on Thursday after beating her in Tasmania.

The British number two said: “She’s a great player and tough competitor and very solid so it will be a tough match.

“I think coming in it will give me confidence for sure to know that I can beat her, especially if it gets close in those tight moments.”

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2Manchester CityMan City27183668293957
3Leicester CityLeicester27155754272750
4Chelsea2713594537844
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd27118841291241
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs2711794436840
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9Arsenal2781363936337
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11Everton27106113641-536
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13Crystal Palace2789102432-833
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2787122441-1731
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610113239-728
16Bournemouth2775152643-1726
17Aston Villa2774163452-1825
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27261064174779
2Manchester CityMan City27183668293957
3Leicester CityLeicester27155754272750
4Chelsea2713594537844
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd27118841291241
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs2711794436840
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27101072925440
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2791263832639
9Arsenal2781363936337
10Burnley27114123339-637
11Everton27106113641-536
12Southampton27104133448-1434
13Crystal Palace2789102432-833
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2787122441-1731
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610113239-728
16Bournemouth2775152643-1726
17Aston Villa2774163452-1825
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2766153248-1624
19Watford2759132443-1924
20Norwich CityNorwich2746172451-2718
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