Australian Open 2014: Heather Watson and Johanna Konta progress in qualifying but Dan Evans' game disintegrates
Thursday 09 January 2014
Heather Watson and Johanna Konta posted victories in Australian Open qualifying, but there was disappointment for fellow British player Dan Evans.
Watson overcame nerves to defeat Australian Arina Rodionova 6-4, 6-3 in the first round, while Konta was particularly impressive in a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Grace Min of the United States.
Evans was the only British man to win his first-round match in qualifying on Wednesday and hopes were high that he could repeat his US Open heroics, which saw him go all the way to the third round of the main draw. But the 23-year-old was beaten 6-4, 6-1 in his second preliminary match by Hungary's Marton Fucsovics, the 2010 Wimbledon boys' champion.
Fucsovics is 33 places behind 149th-ranked Evans and had only won a single grand slam qualifying match prior to arriving in Melbourne but he was rock solid.
Evans, in contrast, was well below his best, losing eight of the last nine games and receiving a warning for swearing.
Watson is playing in grand slam qualifying for the first time in 18 months after last year was ruined by glandular fever and she dropped out of the top 100. The 21-year-old will next meet France's Stephanie Foretz Gacon, who she beat at the French Open in 2011, and needs two more wins to reach the main draw.
Watson, who reached the third round in the main draw last year, said: "I was very nervous. I feel like in the middle I loosened up but my energy really dropped at the end because I think all the nervous energy had worn me out. But I was able to close it out. I played quite well, I definitely can play better, and I think I'll play a lot freer in my next match.
"I don't know why I was so nervous, it's a while since I played in qualifying and I expect myself to do well and go far. I really like the tournament and play well on these courts. I think I'm putting too much pressure on myself."
Konta, who plays Ukraine's Olga Savchuk in round two, is ranked seven places above Watson and narrowly missed out on direct entry to the main draw in Melbourne.
Meanwhile the British No 4 Tara Moore, 21, lost 6-0, 7-5 to Japan's Erika Sema.
Arsenal are so close to winning the Premier League, but sometimes Arsene Wenger holds them back, says Jamie Carragher
Arsenal transfer news: Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini set for showdown summer talks over future
David Beckham reveals secret of his success: I 'stayed in to watch Match of the Day' rather than go out with friends on a Saturday night
Real Madrid vs Juventus preview: Juventus know they must attack to match past European glory
Two new members of Floyd Mayweather's The Money Team blag their way into entourage to celebrate to celebrate with Justin Bieber
- 2 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 3 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 4 Ryan Gosling posts tribute to 'Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal' creator Ryan McHenry
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally