By Ros Satar, in Melbourne
- Dan Evans v Facundo Bagnis
- Aljaz Bedene v Victor Estrella Burgos
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Dan Evans and Aljaz Bedene join Andy Murray as the Brits in action on Monday.
Dan Evans v Facundo Bagnis – First Meeting
There will be a lot for Dan Evans to carry into the Australian Open as he hotfoots it straight from Sydney where he finished runner-up in his first ATP final. Some good points were his determination, coming through three set matches all the way up to the final, where he maybe just ran out of a little steam.
What might not have been so good was the frustration and negativity at times, as he could not quite finish the job, but hopefully he has some time recover as it is a quick turnaround to play on the opening day.
First up for him is an Argentine leftie Facundo Bagnis. For almost all of last year, Bagnis was on the dirt with scant time on any other surface (and by that we mean a first round loss on grass at Wimbledon and bounced out in the same round at New York.
He ventured onto the blue stuff in Doha and Auckland with first round exits there too (including one to Britain’s Brydan Klein), so all in all in Evan’s current form it would be a shock if he lost to the clay court challenger.
Prediction: Evans in three sets.
Aljaz Bedene v Victor Estrella Burgos – First Meeting
You have to feel for Aljaz Bedene after the horrors of his appeals to be allowed to represent Britain in the Davis Cup. The almost farcical proceedings left the Brit in tatters, and his game seemed to follow as he headed down the rankings.
He dropped to the Challenger circuit before calling time on his season early in a year that has also seen him struggle with injuries. Having not played since September in the Rome Challenger, he returned to Chennai – a tournament he has enjoyed some success in, and ran to the quarter-final but he fell away badly, bagelled in the second set by Benoit Paire.
Victor Estrella Burgos, we feel it might be fair to say, no longer has time and youth on his side, but hearts were touched when he won his first ATP title in Quito in 2015, and he successfully defended his title.
Bedene at least comes into this match-up with wins under his belt and more importantly time on court in 2017, and really on paper this ought to be a win for the Brit and perhaps a boost to his confidence. Estrella Burgos has yet to advance past the first round of the Australian Open.
Prediction: Bedene in four sets.
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