On Saturday, world No. 24 Daniel Evans looks to take down world No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime for a spot in the fourth round at the Australian Open. This match will feature an interesting contrast of styles, with Evans doing plenty of funky counterpunching, while his opponent opts to go on the offensive with his powerful forehand. It was the Brit that got the better of these two in their one-and-only meeting to this point, 6-2, 6-3, at the Murray River Open last February.
Auger-Aliassime has had to scrap his way into the third round in Melbourne. The 21-year-old needed five sets to beat world No. 90 Emil Ruusuvuori (in 3:43) in the first round, and was pushed again in a four-set win over world No. 50 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (in 4:23) in his most recent match. The Canadian could be a little gassed when he takes the court against Evans.
Evans just might be the most well-rested player remaining in the field. The Brit earned a straight-set win over world No. 45 David Goffin in the first round, and he was on the court for only an hour and 48 minutes. Then, Evans’ next opponent, Arthur Rinderknech, was forced to bail on their-second round encounter due to a wrist injury. At this point, despite being 10 years older than Auger-Aliassime, Evans would be better suited for a longer match.
In addition to being the fresher player here, Evans also has the type of game to frustrate Auger-Aliassime. The 31-year-old rarely makes mistakes with his ground strokes, and he utilizes a ton of spin to keep his opponents on their heels. Evans is truly one of the craftiest players on tour, and he maximizes every bit of his talent on the court.
Evans simply isn’t going to give Auger-Aliassime the type of pace he’s looking for from the baseline, and he'll put so many balls in play that the youngster will need to be sharp to avoid a rash of unforced errors. Auger-Aliassime racked up 32 of them when they met last February, and it was Evans’ backhand slice that gave FAA a lot of trouble.
All in all, Evans just isn’t going to let Auger-Aliassime get comfortable in this match, and he has the experience to get himself past the finish line. Try your best to ignore the fact that he’s playing a Top 10 opponent, as this is Evans’ match to lose—and you’re getting a great price on him to walk away with the victory.
The Pick: Daniel Evans To Win (+100)