(Reuters) – Britain’s Dan Evans said he “panicked on court” in Saturday’s Australian Open third round loss to ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime despite having a walkover in the previous round.
Evans’ second-round opponent Arthur Rinderknech pulled out with a wrist injury but Canadian Auger-Aliassime made short work of the rested 24th-seeded Briton with a 6-4 6-1 6-1 victory.
Evans, 31, hit only 10 winners and made 20 unforced errors. His defeat means no Briton advanced to the second week of the season’s opening Grand Slam.
“I’m not putting it down to the walkover, I just definitely felt a bit out of sorts on the court,” Evans told reporters.
“I panicked on the court, it was total, I missed my chance and I panicked a bit and that happens in tennis. I’m not going to sit here and say he was too good. I panicked and I felt that.
“I was obviously not playing the two days before, I had not seen any crowds, I had been in the locker room, I had been just around the place and then I sort of walked out and … maybe I made a little mistake there.”
Evans beat Auger-Aliassime in their previous meeting last year in an ATP final in Melbourne and said the Canadian had improved in the past 12 months.
“He played well when he was in front, he’s a good front runner,” Evans added. “He took his chance when he got it and … I didn’t take my chance.
Auger-Aliassime will face either fifth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev or 27th ranked Croat Marin Cilic in the next round.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)