ES­COBEDO SERVES A STUN­NER

World No 108 up­sets Bri­tain’s Evans in first ATP Mas­ters 1000 event

New Straits Times - - Sport -

YOUNG Amer­i­can Ernesto Es­cobedo pulled off a sur­prise vic­tory in three sets over Bri­tain’s Dan Evans in the first round of the Mi­ami Open on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can, who grew up play­ing on rough public courts in Los An­ge­les, is play­ing in his first ATP Mas­ters 1000 se­ries event, hav­ing qual­i­fied with a straight-sets win over Ar­gen­tine Renzo Olivo on Tues­day.

Es­cobedo, ranked 108th, beat the 43rd ranked Evans 7-5, 0-6, 63 at Cran­don Park thanks mainly to his strong first serve, which in­cluded 10 aces.

“This day is very spe­cial for me. I qual­i­fied for my first Mas­ters 1000 here in Mi­ami and I played a tricky op­po­nent who serves pretty well. It is pretty big to get my first win here,” Es­cobedo said.

“I started pretty slow but once I broke back I felt pretty com­fort­able and kept pa­tient. In the sec­ond set, I just didn’t fo­cus at all and my en­ergy was very low but I am just happy to have stepped it up in the third set.”

Es­cobedo will now face 25th-seed Fernando Ver­dasco in the sec­ond round and he can ex­pect plenty of sup­port from a strongly His­panic South Florida crowd.

For Evans, it was another set­back af­ter he went out in the sec­ond round at In­dian Wells.

“He played pretty well. I needed to get on top early in the third set and I think he would have gone away but I didn’t,” said Evans.

“I have been serv­ing poorly for a lit­tle bit and I wasn’t win­ning my points on my sec­ond serve,” said the English­man, who was given a penalty point for bad lan­guage and rac­quet abuse and also had a ver­bal ex­change with a fan at one stage.

There was more US suc­cess against Bri­tish op­po­si­tion when qual­i­fier Jared Don­ald­son out­lasted 45th-ranked Kyle Ed­mund 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.

Ed­mund served for the match at 5-3 in the sec­ond set and then had three match points in the fol­low­ing game.

Ja­pan’s Yoshi­hito Nish­ioka tri­umphed in a two-hour bat­tle with Aus­tralia’s Jordan Thomp­son. Nish­ioka, who reached the fourth round at In­dian Wells last week, saved 11 of 14 break points to se­cure the 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 vic­tory.

France’s Benoit Paire beat Slo­vak Martin Kl­izan 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 to earn a sec­ond-round chal­lenge with 21st seed Pablo Cuevas.

There was an un­usual stop­page dur­ing Ger­man vet­eran Tommy Haas’s nar­row 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-5 loss to Czech Jiri Ve­sely when the game was halted due to an iguana on top of the score­board. The crea­ture was even­tu­ally taken away by of­fi­cials, but not be­fore it scam­pered across the court.

Ernesto Es­cobedo

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