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Scot may not plough lone furrow in singles

Andy Murray will be keeping things low key today as he continues his preparations for next week's Australian Open but it is a sure bet that the Scot was also keeping a close eye on the qualifying competition at Melbourne Park.

So used to ploughing a lone furrow at grand slam events, Murray will have been particularly hopeful that Dan Evans would continue his improvement and join him in the main draw. Evans, who qualified for the US Open and went on to reach the third round in New York, has broken into the world's top 150, gaining respect from Murray, who knew of his talent but has also been impressed by Evans' improving work ethic.

The 23-year-old from Birmingham began his qualifying campaign in Melbourne yesterday with a straightforward 6-1, 6-2 win over Huang Liang-Chi of Taipei. He was scheduled to play his second-round tie in the early hours of this morning and, while his ranking of 149 made him favourite against Marton Fucsovics, the former Wimbledon junior champion of Hungary, rising temperatures makes conditions testing.

Six years ago, the majority of ­Britons woke up on the first Monday of the Australian Open to find that all the country's players had been beaten, including Murray, who went out to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in round one. Since then, Murray has reached the final three times and, despite his recovery from back surgery, he can still be expected to be highly competitive this time round, particularly if he receives a kindly draw.

Britain's leading woman, Laura Robson, is a direct entrant into the main draw, defending plenty of points after reaching the fourth round last year. When she pulled out of the WTA event in Hobart this week with a left wrist injury, there were fears that she may have to miss Melbourne too.

Intensive rehab looks as if it will ensure she takes her place, where she will be hoped to be joined by at least one of the three Britons in qualifying action. Heather Watson - still trying to regain confidence after a difficult 2013 when glandular fever set her back - Jo Konta and Tara Moore were scheduled for action last night.

Britain's doubles players will continue to arrive in Melbourne over the next couple of days, with three pairs in line to be seeded: Jamie Murray and the Australian John Peers, who reached the semi-finals in Brisbane last week; Dominic Inglot and Filipino partner Treat Huey; and Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins.

The last named pair lost opening matches in Brisbane last week and in Auckland yesterday, though they are determined to prove they can succeed following Hutchins' recovery from Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

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