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Brits cross fingers for a Murray – Evans Sydney final

It’s a good start to the year for the British men as they move into the Sydney semi-finals

Dan Evans Dan Evans of Great Britain prepare to hit a forehand to Pedro Martinez of Spain (Panoramic)

Two former British No 1s were on fine form at the Sydney Tennis Classic. Both Andy Murray and Dan Evans have now made the last four of the draw – and are hoping they may meet in the final.

Evans had the latest day at the office, playing Maxime Cressy of the USA in the last match of the day and winning 6-4, 7-6(5). He next faces the tournament’s top seed Aslan Karatsev.

“It would be nice to play [Andy] obviously, but yeah, we both have tough matches,” he said to the press after his quarter-final win. “It’s great that there is two [British players] in the semis. Hopefully we can both win.”

Murray – no free passes

Evans has been drawn against David Goffin in the first round of the Australian Open. The Belgian had to withdraw from his match against Murray on Thursday, giving the former world No 1 a walkover to the semi-finals.

And the three-time Grand Slam winner will next meet the big-serving Reilly Opelka – which he thinks is the best prospect he could hope for in terms of his physical condition and preparation for the first major of the year.

“My first match [against Viktor Durasovic] was very quick, and if you play four or five matches like that, it doesn’t take so much out of you, whereas if you play a number of matches like I did against [Nikoloz] Basilashvili [which went to a gruelling three sets], then it can be counterproductive,” said Murray.

“Obviously with today’s match being a short one and the first one being a short one and tomorrow I play against Opelka, which, you know, physically is not going to be demanding — well, it could be, but the nature of how he plays, you know, you’re going to get a lot of short points, a lot of quick points, I wouldn’t think physically that would take as much out of me either.”

Murray faces Basilashvili again in the opening round of the Australian Open, and was quick to warn against an expectation that history will repeat itself.

“Just because I won against him yesterday doesn’t mean I get a free pass into the second round,” he said. “I need to go out and play another top match to win against him in Melbourne.”

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