Indian Wells | Wawrinka squeezes past Evans
A packed Stadium 2 crowd witnessed a feast of attacking tennis today as Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka took on the resurgent Dan Evans in a re-run of their epic match at the 2016 US Open, when the Swiss saved a match point before going on to beat the British player en route to his third Grand Slam singles title.
In Friday’s match Evans took the first set on a tie-break after surviving intense pressure on his serve, only for Wawrinka to up his game and take the second set 6-3 after breaking the British player in the fifth and ninth games. Evans, now back in the world’s top 100 after a great few weeks in the US, played a sublime mix of slice defence and volley attack, constantly closing out points by stealthy approaches to the net.
Wawrinka fell 0-40 behind on serve in the fifth game of the final set but held with a combination of strong serves and bold forehand winners. Evans had surprisingly been attacking Wawrinka’s backhand to great effect throughout the match, but when the Swiss player fell 15-40 down on serve two games later it was once again his serve and forehand that got him out of trouble. Six break points saved, and it was almost inevitable that when Evans faced a break point he would succumb. This he did, but in losing 7-6(3) 3-6 3-6 to a three-time Grand Slam winner the British player had nevertheless taken another step forward in what could become a stellar year.
Elsewhere in Friday’s action Britain’s Johanna Konta had an emphatic 6-0 6-2 victory over the talented Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan.