There was good news for British tennis fans as Dan Evans and James Ward reached the second round of the Australian Open qualifiers on Wednesday.
28-year-old Evans, whose highest ranking was 41st on the ATP singles circuit, having reached there in 2017, was a straight-set winner over Rogerio Dutra Silva. He triumphed 6-2, 6-3.
Currently, British ranked three, Ward, however, required to overcame the loss of the first set to defeat local boy Maverick Banes, winning 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Two other players from Great Britain, Jay Clarke and Katie Swan, however, went out in the opening qualifier. In fact, Swan had the misfortune of suffering a muscle injury and having to leave the courts in a wheelchair, unable to walk.
He was down a set to Canada’s Bianca Andreescu when the injury occurred. Lorenzo Sonego, who is the top seed in the qualifiers defeated Clarke in straight sets.
Players need to win three matches during the qualifiers to make it to the main draw of the competition, which starts on 14 January.
Evans takes on Austria’s Jurij Rodionov, while Ward will be up against Argentinian Marco Trungelliti in their respective second round matches.
In the 2017 edition of the Australian Open, Evans had made the fourth round before losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, making it his best ever performance not just at the Australian Open but also any Grand Slam. He has also entered third rounds at Wimbledon and US Open.
Ward, on the other hand, has never gone beyond round one at the Australia, French and the US Open, and only once made round three at Wimbledon as his best performance in a major.