Dan Evans stands one qualifying match away from his maiden appearance in the Australian Open after beating Israel's Amir Weintraub in three sets in Melbourne in front of the watchful gaze of Andy Murray. The Birmingham-born right-hander faces US player Bjorn Fratangelo for a place in the main draw.
Evans led by a set and a break in the second but missed three match points to complete a comprehensive victory, allowing Weintraub back into the contest via a tiebreak. However, the world number 185 eventually prevailed 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 to go within one match of breaking new ground in his career. Murray, Aljaz Bedene and Kyle Edmund are already guaranteed a place in the main draw.
"It was one of those matches where I couldn't get going. I got nervous, that's pretty much it," Evans said, according to Press Association. "I haven't played for a while in this sort of place but I want to do well. With the wind, I must have served 20 double faults easy [he served 13]. That was a bit demoralising. 40-0 and then serving for it again at 6-5. It was almost a bit embarrassing at times."
James Ward was however unable to join Evans in the third round of qualifying as, also being keenly watched by Murray deep into the evening, he succumbed 6-4 7-5 to Dennis Novikov. The Davis Cup winner was broken three times during his 86-minute match, which came less than a month after the death of former coach Darren Tandy.
Heather Watson and Johanna Konta will be the only British women competing in the singles competition at the opening grand slam of the year after Naomi Broady crashed out of qualifying with 10 double faults in her defeat to Alize Lim.