World No 1 Andy Murray admits he is shocked more at the consistency of Britain’s Dan Evans, rather than the quality performances he has started to produce.
Evans – who is currently ranked at No 51 in the world, which is likely to change after Melbourne, progressed to round three of the Australian Open after causing a huge upset by outperforming Marin Čilić 3-6 7-5 6-3 6-3.
Murray – a five-time Australian Open finalist, says Evans has always possessed the ability but never been able to find consistency in his performances which is why he’s a little shocked.
“Yeah, I’d say a little bit,” the two-time Wimbledon champion said. “But more consistency rather than results because I’ve practiced with him a bunch and seen him during Davis Cup matches.
“He’s really good, he’s really talented, and he moves extremely well and he has a different game to a lot of the players on tour now.”
“Once you play at the highest level, the more you play at this level, you get used to it.”
After marching past Čilić – who was the No 7 seed in Melbourne, Evans faces one of Australia’s biggest hopes for success, Bernard Tomic, on Friday January 20.
Tomic battled past Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (7-5) to advance to round three on Friday. If Evans produces a similar performance reminiscent to his Čilić demolition, the No 27 seed may have his work cut out.
Murray feels the Brit’s recent performances on the ATP World Tour and Grand Slam tournaments – Evans lost in the Sydney International final during the second week of January, and reached the third round at three consecutive Grand Slams, has instilled belief into the 26-year-old and hints there’s more to come.
“It’s probably given him a lot of confidence these last six to twelve months playing on the tour with the best players, practising with them,” Murray said.
“He will have improved a lot and also realised how good he is. I think it’s just more of the consistency, you know.
“The performances have been surprising because he hasn’t done that before, and its credit to him and his team for the form he’s in now and hopefully he keeps it going.”
Evans took two hours and 57 minutes to topple Čilić in the late afternoon sun on court three in Melbourne.
The 26-year-old – who has never been past the third round at a Grand Slam, said the shade gave him trouble during the first set, but now looks forward to his clash with Australia’s Bernard Tomic.
“I struggled with the shade on the court and his pace of ball was coming through pretty quick,” Evans said moments after his career-best win.
“Once the sun went down I felt much better and got into the match. Good things happen today.
“I’m happy that I won and I’m looking forward to playing on Friday.”