Dan Evans vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime Preview: Australian Open Open Round 3 Odds, Picks & How to Watch
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images. Pictured: Felix Auger-Aliassime
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Dan Evans vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime
|Time | TV||Saturday, 1 a.m. ET* | ESPN+|
|Odds via FanDuel. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.|
The battle for the fourth round is on, and two deserving men will duke it out on Saturday morning for the chance to likely face Andrey Rublev for a spot in the quarterfinal. Dan Evans has the fitness advantage here and the head-to-head edge. Will that be enough to propel him to victory?
Evans Is Well-Rested
The Brit figured to be in for a whale of fight in the second round, drawing the red-hot Arthur Rinderknech, but an injury forced the Frenchman to pull out of the tournament just hours before match time and gave Evans the gift of a walkover victory.
After defeating David Goffin in the first round three sets to love, Evans has now had plenty of time to recover from his grueling loss in the Sydney semifinal last week at the hands of Aslan Karatsev. To put it in numbers, Evans has now played just three sets of tennis since Jan. 14 — a full week ago.
Evans features a slice backhand that keeps the ball low and forces opponents to generate their own pace. It can be useful for error-prone players who don’t have much of a finesse game like Auger-Aliassime, and it’s already led him to big wins this year over Denis Shapovalov, John Isner and the very in-form Maxime Cressy.
All in all, Evans is now 7-1 to start the 2022 season. That’s incredibly encouraging considering his brutal 2021 season which saw him go 27-26 across all competitions. He started the season strong with a win in Australia — taking out Auger-Aliassime in the final — and actually found success on the clay, which is not a surface he’s very good on.
A heartbreaking loss to Sebastian Korda at Wimbledon in front of his home fans and a subsequent bout with COVID-19 derailed the Evans train, and the man who had risen to prominence with an incredible 55-win season in 2019 seemed like a distant memory. It seems we’re back on track.
Auger-Aliassime Has Not Looked Himself
The Canadian No. 1 has had a much different road here than Evans. Auger-Aliassime struggled to put away Spainard Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina — someone who a top-10 player should really have no issues with on a hardcourt — going to four tiebreakers and pulling it out thanks to some unforced errors from the other side of the net. Prior to that, he had to go five sets with young upstart Emiil Ruusuvuori. The time on court is really beginning to add up.
Auger-Aliassime did finally manage some sustained success at Grand Slams last year, taking the words of new coach Toni Nadal to heart. He seemed to improve his mental game, eliminating some second serve concerns and limiting (but not ridding himself of) the unforced errors which had caused him so much pain.
FAA was a set away from the Quarterfinal in Melbourne last year, and after a disappointing first-round loss at Roland Garros got down to business at Wimbledon with a quarterfinal appearance and went to the semifinals at the US Open. Beating the likes of Alexander Zverev, Roberto Bautista-Agut and Carlos Alcaraz along the way, he proved himself to be a tough out on the biggest stage.
The head-to-head here tells the story of how I assume this one will go. Like this year, Evans begun the season on absolute tear, coming through four straight matches in Melbourne without dropping a set before taking out Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 6-3. The Canadian made error after error, struggling to hand the disruptive slice backhand and consistency of Evans.
The Brit may not have the talent of Auger-Aliassime, but he should be the harder worker of the two and the cleaner player. Auger-Aliassime’s last two matches have been riddled with dozens and dozens of errors, and while his last two opponents were not able to take the changes they were afforded, Evans certainly will. He’s a world-class tennis player capable of beating almost anyone on tour when he’s playing his best tennis, and it’s pretty clear that’s what he’s doing right now.
Auger-Aliassime has taken down some big names so far this year with his all-or-nothing game, but that was many matches ago. I suspect the mileage on him at this point will be too much for overcome, and his legs will eventually give out and produce the errors necessary for Evans to take this in four or five sets.
Pick: Evans -106
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