The Monte Carlo run for Dan Evans came to an abrupt end at the semi-final stage where Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Greek world No.5, proved a step too far for the British No.1.
I am very happy, I found ways to play at my best, He has a very unique way of playing, I haven't seen many play this way on clay. Slicing gave me opportunity to run around and hit the forehand, it gave me time to think and picture the way I wanted to construct the point and play it. Stefanos Tsitsipas
However, Evans will leave the Principality having, out of the blue, suddenly become a proficient clay courter! Previously the 30-year-old had only won four clay-court matches at the highest level prior to this week where one of his victims was the world No.1 Novak Djokovic.
As Evans admits, his attitude towards the surface has changed as his preference was always grass or hardcourts.
“My attitude was obviously pretty poor back then to developing my game on the clay,” he said of his previous approach but is now much more positive.
“It’s been a good week. I’m enjoying it. It’s easy to say everybody told me I’d be able to play on it before. It’s not that simple, is it? Otherwise, we’d all be winning matches all the time.
“I’ve definitely found my way. The movement aspect of it has been a little easier. I definitely think with last year having the clay so close to this year has definitely helped.”
But Evans will still be making an appearance on Finals day as with Neal Skupski te pair pulled off a huge upset to beat Monte Carlo Masters doubles favourites Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal 7-6(0) 2-6 10-4.
The Colombian duo were the number one seeds but were on the back foot in the first set when the British pair held their own and won on the tie break but they fought back to level and force a deciding Champions tiebreak which went the way of the Brits.
In the final, Evans & Skupski will face the Croatan pairing of Matec Pavic & Nikola Mekcic.
Despite his clay court renaissance, Tsitsipas proved a step too far for Evans in the singles who could barely respond and raise his own game to match the Greek who outplayed him over 69-minutes to post a 6-2 6-1 win and secure his place in the final.
“I am very happy, I found ways to play at my best,” said Tsitsipas
“He has a very unique way of playing, I haven’t seen many play this way on clay.
“Slicing gave me opportunity to run around and hit the forehand, it gave me time to think and picture the way I wanted to construct the point and play it.”
The Greek star will face Andrey Rublev in the final, the Russian world No.8 having brought to an end Casper Ruud’s equally exciting journey,
He beat the Norwegian 6-3 7-5 after 80-minutes of play, retaining his focus throughout as Ruud fought back in the second set from 2-5 down before serving out for the match after breaking him in the eighth game.
“It is an amazing feeling,” Rublev said on reaching his first Masters 1000 final. “It is my first [Masters] final, so I am really happy, and we will see what is going to happen [in the final]. I will try to do my best”.
On his match with Ruud, he added: “Casper is a really amazing player, especially on clay. Since the beginning he put a really high intensity and was really tough. I knew that I needed to raise my level if I wanted to fight against him, because if I [did] not raise the level I [would] lose for sure.”
It has certainly been an interesting week which will end with a new name on the trophy, possibly heralding the new generation.