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Dubai | Evans surprises Fognini in opener

Dubai | Evans surprises Fognini in opener

Dan Evans has beaten another top 20 player, when he dispatched Fabio Fognini, the fourth seed, out of the Dubai Championships, an ATP 500 event, after two-hour and 39-minutes,

It's difficult to play Fabio, he's such a class player, It felt like he was on top forever really, I was just hanging in. Dan Evans

The British No.1, ranked 37, refused to quit and recovered from a set and a break down to beat the Italian, who was making his debut at the event, 3-6 6-4 7-5.

“It’s great to get through the tight ones, especially against someone as good as Fabio. I’m just grateful to come through…”

The Briton sealed victory on his sixth match point after an eight-minute final game which ended as a return on the Fognini baseline was called good by the Hawk-Eye system.

“It’s difficult to play Fabio, he’s such a class player,” Evans said of the world number 11. “It felt like he was on top forever really, I was just hanging in.”

Evans twice recovered from a break down in the third set before breaking Fognini in the 12th game to complete a comeback win and the opportunity of facing France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert in round two.

Stefanos Tsitsipas began his campaign with a 7-6(1) 6-1 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta just two days after winning the Marseille title.

The Greek cruised through in 94 minutes but then revealed he was feeling the pressure of fatigue.

“I was tired,” said the world number six who beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in Marseille on Sunday. “I came into the match tired. I was upset with myself a little bit, but I realised I have to save that energy. The physical part was difficult for me.

“I tried to stay calm and not complain too much because I would definitely need that energy for later on. I think I focused on my breathing, constructing the points, staying in the point, trying to make things happen from my backhand side.

“I’m not pushing myself to the limits like I did last year,” added Tsitsipas. “I’m trying to be smarter in the way I handle certain situations and moments in the match.”

Tsitsipas, the losing finalist here a year ago to Roger Federer, will next play Alexander Bublik after the Kazakh beat Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-2 7-5.

In Mexico, Kyle Edmund scored a convincing 6-4 6-1 win over Spain’s Feliciano Lopez while Cameron Norrie, a wildcard entry, was defeated 2-6 6-3 6-3 by Adrian Mannarino of France.

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