British number one Dan Evans, the eighth seed at the San Diego Open, joined his two compatriots Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie in the second round after defeating South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in very tight straight sets.
A little fortunate to come through that one! Dan Evans
The luck of the draw, however, has pitched Evans, world ranked 22, against the British number two Norrie, ranked six places below him in the next rond.
It will prove an interesting contest between two friendly rivals as Norrie continues to challenge his fellow country man for the top national spot.
Evans will not be conceding that easily as he showed against Anderson, the Springbok who has twice reached grand slam finals and is renown for his powerful serving, by outlasting the South African over two hours and 18-minutes 7-6(11) 7-5.
The former finalist at the US Open (2017) and Wimbledon (2018) produced 13 aces to Evan’s 5 as the pair tried to outmanoeuvre each other on the court but failing to take advantage when the opportunities arose.
And the stats show that there was very little which separated them with Anderson winning 88% of his first serve points compared to Evans’s 80%, who then had the edge on second service points – 62% to 56%.
However, it was Evans who made the break by converting one of the two break points he had against Anderson’s booming serve in the second set, while managing to save all four break points against his own.
That break was enough to set him up for the victory which he took a game later, on his fourth set point leading Evans to comment after his victory: “A little fortunate to come through that one!”
It was quickly pointed out to him that he would be facing Norrie next, to which he responded: “I know him pretty well; he knows me,” having played him once before on the ATP Tour, losing in the first round of this year’s Australian Open. They also met earlier in their career’s, in the final of the 2016 Aptos Challenger in California, when Evans prevailed in straight sets.
In other opening round action, the fifth seeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz, winner of both the singles and doubles titles last week in Metz, defeated Australian qualifier Alex Bolt 7-6(2) 6-1 and will face Russia’s Aslan Karatsev for a place in the quarter-finals.
Two second round matches were also completed with the top-seeded Andrey Rublev of Russia, overpowering the US wild-card entry Brandon Nakashima 6-2 6-1, and Diego Schwartzman – the sixth seed from Argentina whom he takes on next – recovering well to eliminated South African Lloyd Harris 4-6 6-3 6-2.
Rublev, the world number five, used his big forehand to take control of points from the baseline as he later explained.
“Since the beginning, I was thinking I need to be the one who’s going to dominate. I need to try to take my forehand and try to dictate,” the 23-year-old form Moscow, a four-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, said.