By Jake Davies

  • Gilles Muller [6] defeats Dan Evans 7-6 (5) 6-2
  • Evans impresses in first ATP final
  • The British No.3 faces Facundo Bagnis in Australian Open first round
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Dan Evans may not have won the final in Sydney, but the Brit may look back on this week as an important stepping stone for greater things in the second half of his career.

 

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Gilles Muller [6] defeats Dan Evans 7-6 (5) 6-2

Dan Evans fell short of the victory in his first ATP final after a straight-sets loss to the left hander from Luxembourg Gilles Muller. The 33-year-old had previously lost five ATP finals in a row, but managed to hold his serve and nerve to reign supreme in Sydney.

Muller scored some mightily impressive wins and performances throughout the tournament in Sydney. He beat Alexandr Dolgopolov, Pablo Cuevas, Matthew Barton and defeated the two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki to book his place in the showpiece final. The man from Luxembourg has thrown everything into reviving his career, which really coincided with appointing Jamie Delgado as his coach back in 2014. At that moment, Muller was outside the Top 300, but found some of his best career towards the latter stages of his career, and even with the departure of Delgado in early 2016, Muller has continued to maintain a steady ranking and now sits inside the World’s Top 30.

Evans can take a lot of heart from his week in Sydney. The reformed Evans beat a lot of players that he was not expected to beat, including his first Top 10 victory over the No.1 seed Dominic Thiem. The Brit surpasses his previous career high ranking of No.53 and now is on the brink of the World’s Top 50 with a decent draw in the first round of Melbourne.

His first round opponent is Argentinian Facundo Bagnis, who enjoys most of his success on the clay. Should Evans get through the first obstacle, he could face the No.7 seed Marin Cilic, which would present a massive challenge for Evans early on in the tournament.

The Australian Open takes place between 16-29 January.

 

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