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By Glenys Furness

  • Dan Evans knocks out the top qualifying seed in straight sets
  • James Ward battles back spasm to win in straight sets
  • Brydan Klein looses in straight sets

Melbourne, Australia. Dan Evans moved to the second round of qualifying for the Australian Open by defeating the top seed in straight sets. James Ward also won in straights sets, but had to battle with a back spasm to progress. Brydan Klein  was unable to join the round two party as he lost in straight sets.

Evans had the unlucky draw as he faced the top seed in the qualifying. Luca Vani broke Evans in the first set to take the lead, however the advantage did not last long as Evans broke back. The Brit kept holding serve until the match went into a tiebreak. This was not a problem for the Brit as Evans took the tiebreak. The second set saw Evans staying with Vani as the play went on. The Brit secured the break in the eighth game, and that was all Evans needed, he took the second set 6-4.

Ward faced Peter Polansky and had a great start. The Brit soon had a lead of 5-1 after breaking twice in the set, however Ward was unable to serve out to deliver a breadstick. Instead Polansky broke back twice to level up the set at 5-5, the Canadian then held serve again to lead 6-5. Ward then needed a medical time out, which he told the press later that it was a sudden back spasm. After the treatment Ward held serve and forced the breaker, which the Brit won 8-6. The second set was very much a repeat version of Evans second set, in that the Brit managed to break and take the set 6-4.

Klein unfortunately could not join them in the next round, he had drawn  Peter Gojowczyk. The Brit kept the first set tight, only a break at the death saw the set go to Gojowczyk 7-5. The second set, however, was much more comfortable for the German as he sealed the spot in the second round with 6-2.

Moving to Sydney where Colin Fleming & Jonathan Erlich played their quarter final match. After the win over the Bryan Brothers in the first round Fleming & Erlich found themselves against another unseeded team of Thomaz Belluci & Leonardo Mayer.

The first set was very close as the teams were going toe to toe, eventually hitting the tiebreak. Belluci & Mayer too the tiebreak without losing a point. Set two so the Fleming & Erlich level the match converting a break of serve to take the set 6-4, once again it would be match tie break to settle things. Staying as close to Belluci & Mayer as they could through the MTB the British/Israeli pairing were eventually edged out 6-10.

Over in Auckland Jonny Marray & Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi were in the first round, they had drawn the fourth seeds Eric Butorac & Scott Lipsky. The British/Pakistani team were broken once in the first set, leading to the Americans winning it 6-4. However, in the second set Marray & Qureshi managed to convert their chances and levelled the match 6-3. This meant it would be a MTB to decide the winners, this tiebreak was very close with the Brit/Pakistani pairing eventually losing 11-13.

On the Challenger circuit and in Bangkok Liam Broady had his second round match. Saying with Dzmitry Zhyrmont in the first set the match went into a tiebreak. The Brit was outplayed and didn’t score a single point in the breaker. After that Broady lost his way and ended up being served a bagel to end his run.

There was better news in the doubles as Neal & Ken Skupski who are seeded fourth took just over an hour to overcome their opponents Fabrice Martin & Sanam Singh. The Brits secured the first set with a comfortable 6-2 scoreline, the second was much closer with Martin & Singh managing to force a tiebreak. The Brits were too strong though and came through 9-7.


Play continues tonight in Melbourne, Sydney and Bangkok from 11pm GMT


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