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Australian Open: Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Dan Evans & Heather Watson play on day three

Dan Evans’ best showing at the Australian Open was reaching the fourth round in 2017
2020 Australian Open
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 20 January to 2 February
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and online; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

Britons Dan Evans and Heather Watson are looking to progress in the Australian Open on Wednesday after only Harriet Dart survived day two.

Evans, seeded 30th, plays Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, with defending champion Novak Djokovic possibly awaiting the winner in the third round.

Watson, ranked 75th, meets Kristyna Pliskova in her first-round match.

The pair were scheduled to meet on Tuesday but the match was postponed because of a backlog.

Evans, 29, is the only Briton left in the men’s singles after Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie lost on Tuesday.

The British number one, who fought from two sets down to beat American Mackenzie McDonald on Monday, meets Nishioka second on court 19 at about 02:00 GMT.

Watson, 27, is hoping to join qualifier Dart in the second round after Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter were also beaten on Tuesday.

She opens against Czech world number 64 Pliskova – twin sister of second seed Karolina – on court 12 at 00:00 GMT.

Djokovic is among a star-studded line-up on Rod Laver Arena, taking on Japanese wildcard Tatsuma Ito in his second-round match.

Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty, who is aiming to become the home nation’s first singles champion for 42 years, and Czech 2019 runner-up Petra Kvitova also play in the day session.

American legend Serena Williams continues her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title by opening the evening session against Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek, before Swiss great Roger Federer rounds off the night on the 15,000-seat show court, facing Serb Filip Krajinovic.

Wednesday’s order of play on Rod Laver Arena
Day session starts at 00:00 GMT
Paula Badosa (Spa) v Petra Kvitova (Cze) [7]
Ashleigh Barty (Aus) v Polona Hercog (Slo)
Tatsuma Ito (Jpn) v Novak Djokovic (Ser) [2]
Night session starts at 08:00 GMT
Tamara Zidansek (Slo) v Serena Williams (US) [8]
Filip Krajinovic (Ser) v Roger Federer (Swi) [3]

Nishioka just as tough as Djokovic right now – Evans

Evans is no stranger to playing the biggest names on the biggest stage, having faced Federer at both the Australian Open and US Open last year.

The Briton, playing his first Slam as a seed, will meet 16-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic for the first time in his career if both men win on Wednesday.

First Evans must overcome world number 71 Nishioka, who is looking to reach the last 32 at a major for the first time.

“I have to play Nishioka first and if I do get there it’s a good match, another good opportunity.

“It’s obviously a difficult match but Nishioka’s just as tough right now.

“It’s a good thing to have waiting if I win.”

Evans has lost both of his two previous meetings with the Japanese left-hander, including a 6-4 6-1 defeat at the Washington Open in August.

“If I’m being totally honest I had a real bad mental performance last time,” Evans said.

“It was just before I split with my coach [David Felgate] so I wouldn’t read too much into the last one.”

Watson hopes new love can inspire change of Grand Slam fortunes

British number two Watson says she is going into the Australian Open feeling “happy on and off the court”, believing her new relationship with Yeovil Town footballer Courtney Duffus has particularly contributed to her improved results.

Watson is hoping to end a miserable run at the Grand Slams – and the Australian Open, in particular – by beating Pliskova.

“He’s super positive. I don’t like boys to have too much influence over me but he has really been a good influence,” a smiling Watson told reporters.

Watson has won only two main-draw Grand Slam matches in the past two years, with just one victory in her past six appearances in the main draw in Melbourne.

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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