Australian Open 2017: Dan Evans' challenge ended by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

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Australian Open: Dan Evans was 'flagging' against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Britain's Dan Evans had his best run at a Grand Slam ended by a 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-4 6-4 loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last 16 of the Australian Open.

Evans, ranked 51 in the world, started off promisingly as he traded blows with the Frenchman before winning the opening set on a tie-break.

But Tsonga's heavy hitting and big serving took its toll as the 12th seed won the next three sets.

Tsonga will play 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals.

Evans, who reached his first ATP final this month and beat former US Open champion Marin Cilic and home favourite Bernard Tomic to reach the last 16, survived long enough to be the last remaining Briton in the men's singles after Andy Murray's shock defeat by Mischa Zverev.

"He was just a bit too strong for me," said Evans. "I played pretty well. I was pretty sore.

"He was so physical. To win the first set took too much out of me. There was a long game at the start of the second set where I got broke. It was uphill from there."

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (left) and Dan Evans
Evans said he plans to work on his fitness after his Australian Open run came to an end with defeat by Tsonga

Evans had to fend off four break points in the first set, while having only one on the Tsonga serve, before threatening to repeat the shocks of earlier rounds by taking the tie-break.

However, Tsonga heeded the warning and quickly went 4-0 up in the second set as he began to dominate the Briton with his powerful and accurate hitting.

While Evans sporadically threatened the 2008 finalist, and managed 43 winners to Tsonga's 59, the Frenchman was always in control after the first set and won the match with a service game to love.

"Dan played good tennis and he had nothing to lose," said Tsonga.

"It was difficult for me because he was hitting the ball really early. After that the game was pretty difficult, then I went over him and finished strong.

"I've played pretty good since the start of the tournament. It will be a good challenge against Stan Wawrinka - he's playing unbelievably."

'I've come a long way'

Birmingham-born Evans described his exploits at the Australian Open as the best and "most exciting" week of his tennis career.

He now plans to go home before joining up with the Great Britain team for their Davis Cup tie in Canada from 3-5 February.

"I need to maybe get a bit fitter," added Evans. "I think today I was flagging pretty much after the first set. I did feel that.

"My body was sore. Maybe that's something I can improve on a bit.

"But, you know, I've still come a long way from where I was last year."

Analysis

Leon Smith, Great Britain's Davis Cup captain on BBC Radio 5 live

It was just an amazing run for Dan. He's played unbelievably well.

Getting two top 10 wins - beating Dominic Thiem and Marin Cilic in the space of a week - really tells him where he's at just now in terms of his level, never mind his ranking, what his level could be.

His schedule suddenly looks a lot different to this time last year when he was setting off to Asia for some Challenger matches and now he can get ready for all the Masters Series events.

So it's changed days and exciting times for him.

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