Tennis news - Dan Evans reaches Australian Open first round, Harriet Dart drawn with Maria Sharapova
Dan Evans breezed past Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi in straight sets to secure his place in the main draw of the Australian Open.
Evans will compete in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time since his first-round loss at the French Open in 2017, not long before he tested positive for cocaine use.
The 28-year-old from Birmingham has been handed a winnable opener against Japan’s Tatsuma Ito after his 6-3 6-3 win over Lorenzi.
Should he overcome the 30-year-old Ito, a date with defending champion Roger Federer lies in wait – and a likely appearance at Rod Laver Arena.
Harriet Dart is another British hopeful with the main show courts in her sights after booking her place in the main women's draw.
The British number four fought back to defeat the Serbian Ivana Jorovic 1-6 6-3 6-1 and set up a mouth-watering tie with 30th seed Maria Sharapova.
The five-time Grand Slam champion was idolised by Dart during her formative years and this is the first time last year's Wimbledon wildcard has reached a Slam after progressing through qualifying matches.
Evans and Dart join eight British players in the first round.
Andy Murray, Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie are already in the men's draw. Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Katie Boulter complete the set of British hopefuls in this year's singles tournaments.