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Edmund out as Evans eyes Fed scalp

 

Marching on: Dan Evans hails his first-round victory
Marching on: Dan Evans hails his first-round victory

By Eleanor Crooks

British men's No.1 Kyle Edmund crashed out of the Australian Open in the first round, but Dan Evans triumphed in Melbourne.

Edmund reached the semi-finals last year but will not get the chance to repeat the feat after a 6-3 6-0 7-5 defeat to Tomas Berdych which is set to drop him out of the world's top 20.

Edmund, the 13th seed, showed evidence that he is still suffering from a knee problem and was never really in the match against the experienced Czech.

Edmund called it a "reality check" and admitted: "It just shows where I am at the moment, my level, and how much and where I have to improve.

"I've still got lots of years to play so I'm confident I'll be playing at a good standard again, but you're always itching to get things done immediately.

"You just have to have patience and give stuff time to get better, including my game. I've lost matches when I'm fully fit, so I have to work on lots of things to get back up there."

Evans set up a second-round meeting with Roger Federer after winning his first main draw match at a Grand Slam in two years with a 7-5 6-1 7-6 (8) win over Tatsuma Ito of Japan.

The 28-year-old qualifier, who is still in the process of working his way back towards his former heights after a one-year drugs ban, is relishing the clash with Federer, who he met in the third round of Wimbledon in 2016.

Evans said: "It's not very often you get to play Roger on a pretty big court, so I look forward to it.

"I feel pretty good. I'm getting there slowly by the day. I'm more mature, but I've got to try and be smarter - like when I get a chance, to take it straight away."

Cameron Norrie failed to build on reaching his first ATP Tour final last week as he was beaten in straight sets by Taylor Fritz.

Norrie went to Melbourne full of confidence after his run in Auckland, but lost 6-4 7-6 (6) 6-2 to the World No.50, who he had beaten in New Zealand.

Norrie missed his chance to draw level in a tight second set before falling away in the third as Fritz ultimately triumphed.

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