Dan Evans joined Andy Murray in the second round of the Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati Masters) and if they successfully negotiate their way past their next opponents, would meet in the next round.
I played some good tennis and some average tennis as well. I did not serve great, but I hung in and got the win” Dan Evans
Evans proved more than able to handle Andrey Rublev in his opener, defeating the Russian 10th seed 7-5 3-6 6-2 after two hours and 32 minutes in what was their third meeting this year with the British No.1 winning the last two.
Rublev was always the favourite but couldn’t find an answer to Evan’s speed about the court and his volleying skills around the net.
“It was a long one. It was just tough to get rid of him really. He was hanging around. I played some good tennis and some average tennis as well. I did not serve great, but I hung in and got the win”, Evans said later.
“But I am happy with how I played in the third set,” he added.
Evans, ranked 28, took 68-minutes to seize the opening sets when he got his third and decisive break in the tenth game, with two well struck forehands and he pocketed it with a backhand down the line two games later.
Rublev the hit back in the second to take a 3-1 lead but Evans recovered in the next only to be broken again to trail 4-3 and then found himself level at a set-all with everything to play for in the third.
There Evans opened up an early 3-0 lead to dominate Rublev’s serve breaking him for the sixth time in the match and seal a well-deserved win on his fourth match point to reach round two where he will meet the big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, following his victory over another big server, Sam Querrey of the US, 6-4 6-4.
“It’ll probably be a little less of a physical match against Raonic,” Evans commented when asked about playing Raonic.
“But it’ll be difficult. Everyone knows how good he is. I’ll be looking to put my game on the court to try to beat him.”
In other matches, Karen Khachanov cruised past Alexander Bublik 6-4 6-4 while Diego Schwartzman edged Norway’s Casper Ruud 7-6(2) 6-2 in 1 hour and 56-minutes. The diminutive Argentine earned his first mini-break at 2-2 in the tie-break and won five consecutive points to seal the opening set with a crosscourt forehand return winner.
Schwartzman who stand 5’7″ in his tennis shoes, went up an early break in the second to open up a 3-0 lead and held on his own service games to take the win and set up a second round match against Reilly Opelka, the 6’11” American, in what will be a David and Goliath encounter!
Former Cincy champion Grigor Dimitrov came back from 1-3 down in the second set to beat Auckland champion Ugo Humbert 6-3 6-4 and set up a second round match against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, a qualifier, who converted three of his four break point chances to edge past Norbert Gombos, another qualifier, 6-3 6-4.
While the tournament is being played without fans – as well as without line judges with “HawkEye” calling all the lines, Schwartzman couldn’t himself from waving to the non-existent crowd after his victory.
“Obviously it’s a different feeling, going on court without people,” Schwartzman said.
Tennys Sandgren beat Lorenzo Sonego 6-3 7-6(7) to record his third win over Italian players this year.