Dan Evans recovered from a set down to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis 4-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5) in a gripping first round ATP Challenger match at the LTA’s Viking Open Nottingham.
Win or lose it was a really good start to the grass court season, to get so much time out there. I’m really happy to back in Nottingham – it’s an amazing court and it’s great to be here again.” Dan Evans
The British No.1 – who won the last edition of the Nottingham event in 2019 – showed resilience to wear down the big-hitting Australian in a match lasting just under three hours.
Kokkinakis served superbly in the first set and closed with an ace to take it 6-4. Evans found his form in a similarly tight second set, and dominated its tie break to win 6-1.
With the decider poised at 3-3, Evans opened the door for his opponent with a couple of unforced errors, but saved two break points to keep the match level and after a series of strong holds from both players it came down to another tie-break. After a tight exchange of points, Evans took his first match point, whipping a backhand winner down the line to seal victory.
“It was a difficult match,” he said. “Thanasi is a great player and it was positive to play someone so good so early in the tournament. It was not as stressful as the score line suggested – I was enjoying it out there. Win or lose it was a really good start to the grass court season, to get so much time out there. I’m really happy to back in Nottingham – it’s an amazing court and it’s great to be here again.”