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British ace Dan embarrassed after snub from Pietersen

By Paul Newman

Kevin Pietersen has apologised to Great Britain's Australian Open giant-killer Dan Evans after he failed to recognise him in a Melbourne casino this week.

Evans caused another surprise yesterday by reaching the last 16 with a straight-sets victory over home favourite Bernard Tomic. Afterwards he spoke of his disappointment at apparently being snubbed by the former England batsman when they crossed paths at the Crown Casino.

The British No.3's fame is in its infancy, but Pietersen insisted on his Twitter account that he would have struggled to recognise anyone after a day of drinking, and that it was not a deliberate snub.

Evans tweeted: "Hey @KP24 any chance I can have a picture? You refused me the other night in the Crown" to which Pietersen replied: "Apologies mate! I started drinking at 1pm so didn't even know my name by the time that function started!"

Evans, who will face French 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round tomorrow, said: "He was my favourite cricketer until that point, genuinely was, but there was some serious rage for about 20 minutes after that happened. There was some serious rage.

"It was a bad moment, that was. It was so embarrassing as well. He didn't even just say no. He handed me off. I was nowhere near him either. Oh God, it was really embarrassing."

Evans' performances in Melbourne have been anything but embarrassing and he will now pocket £139,000 for making the last 16, money he is unlikely to need to spend on new tennis kit.

He has been buying his own garments, including £13 t-shirts, after he was dropped by Nike at the end of last year.

"The shirt I put on the second time today had been washed. I thought it was a new one but it had shrunk a bit," Evans said.

"The company actually sent quite a lot to the locker room today. That was nice of them. There was no logo so that was really nice. I've got quite a few now and they were free."

Meanwhile, defending champion Angelique Kerber gave a much-improved performance as she beat Czech Kristyna Pliskova for the loss of just four games to reach the last 16.

The German top seed, who needed three sets in both of her opening two matches, won 6-0 6-4. Kerber faces Coco Vandeweghe in round four after the American beat Canada's Eugenie Bouchard 6-4 3-6 7-5.

Venus Williams, 36, and Garbine Muguruza, 23, also progressed. Williams thrashed China's Duan Yingying 6-0 6-1 while French Open champion Muguruza, the seventh seed from Spain, won 6-2 6-4 against Anastasija Sevastova.

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