British No1s Dan Evans and Johanna Konta OUT of Australian Open in first round, as Cameron Norrie and Heather Watson progress

Both of Britain’s number one singles players have exited the Australian Open at the first stage.

Dan Evans, the top-ranked male Brit, saw his hopes of building on his first ATP Tour title dashed as he crashed out to compatriot Cameron Norrie.

Johanna Konta, the 13th seed and leading British female, was forced to retire due to injury in her first round match against Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan.


Evans was below his best as he was beaten by Norrie

Konta’s Aussie dream ended at the first stage


Konta’s Aussie dream ended at the first stage

Konta had won the first set 6-4 but, after falling 2-0 behind in the second, was unable to continue.

She appeared to sustain or exacerbate the injury when she stretched for a smash towards the end of the opening set, and required an on-court medical time-out.

Konta then left the court for treatment at the end of the set, and swiftly decided not to continue after losing her opening service game of the second set to love.

The 29-year-old – a semi-finalist at the Aussie Open in 2016 – was visibly distraught at having to call it quits and left the court in tears.

Evans, meanwhile, was also also reeling having gone into the tournament in great form.

The 30-year-old – the 30th seed Down Under – won the Murray River Open warm-up tournament at the weekend and was the strong favourite against his fellow countryman.

But Norrie, 43 places below his opponent in the world rankings, pulled off a 6-4 4-6 6-4 7-5 victory to make it through to the second round.

It was a dominant and disciplined performance from Norrie, who saved a set point and won four consecutive games to prevent Evans from forcing a decider.

Norrie saw off his fellow Brit to make the second round in Australia for the first time


Norrie saw off his fellow Brit to make the second round in Australia for the first time

Evans cut a frustrated figure and received code and time violations in quick succession early in the second set.

He admitted: “After I (won) on Sunday, I just felt pretty flat ever since really, and I didn’t practice great yesterday.

“I think when you’re flat mentally, it pays off on your physically. I could feel myself talking a lot, and it was tough to get out of. I did a good job to hang in there.”

Norrie is just one of two British singles players to make it through to the second round.

Heather Watson battled past Kristyna Pliskova in her first round match, despite her less than ideal preparations down under.

The 28-year-old was one of 72 players who had to stay in their hotel rooms for a fortnight after sharing a plane with someone who later tested positive for coronavirus.

But she was impressively sharp in a 7-6 (4) 7-6 (3) victory over Czech Pliskova, who she also beat at the same stage last year.

Watson will play Anett Kontaveit in round two on Thursday.

Fellow Brits Katie Boulter and Francesca Jones both lost their first round matches.

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