Dan Evans excellent run on clay over the past few weeks came to an end in the first round of the Rome Masters when h suffered a very-bad tempered loss to Taylor Fritz.
Dan has been playing well lately, beating Novak in Monte Carlo, so it's great to get a strong win Taylor Fritz
The British No.1, currently ranked a career high of 26, has had an impressive run until he arrived in the Italian capital, with a semi-final appearance at the Monte Carlo Masters which included a win over the world No.1 Novak Djokovic, and then a run into the Round of 16 in Madrid, was revelling in his sudden success on clay, his least favourite surface.
A win would have also provided him with the opportunity of testing himself against Djokovic who awaits in the second round, a reward which now falls Fritz following the American’s comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory and is scheduled for Tuesday.
“Dan has been playing well lately, beating Novak in Monte Carlo, so it’s great to get a strong win. I am going to try my best [against Djokovic],” the 23-year-old Fritz said.
Evans’ frustrations surfaced violently towards the end of the first set when he demolished his racket following the loss of five consecutive games. Not only that, but he followed that up at the start of the second when he aimed a volley of abuse at his supporters in the players’ box.
Evans seemed to have refocused after losing a break in the second but physically, he was starting to look drained and was unable to find a way back into the match.
British hopes now rest with Cameron Norrie who is scheduled to play on Tuesday, fellow qualifier from Spain, Roberto Carballes Baena.
In other action the Italian youngster Yannik Sinner recorded his 20th match win of the season by moving past Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-2 6-4.
The 19-year-old will meet nine-time former champion Rafa Nadal for a place in the third round, a match which locals will be looking forward to on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, 2016 semi-finalist Kei Nishikori beat home favourite Fabio Fognini 6-3 6-4, while surprise Australian Open semi-finalist, Russia’s Aslan Karatsev became the third player to reach 20 wins this season with a 7-6(2) 6-4 victory against Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia.
Karatsev will face Russian ATP Cup team-mate and third seed Daniil Medvedev in the second round on Wednesday.