De­fi­ant Evans start­ing to find best form

Evening Standard - West End Final - - SPORT - Paul New­man

THE re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Dan Evans took an­other step for­ward here to­day as the 28-year-old Bri­ton reached the sec­ond round of the Aus­tralian Open by beat­ing Ja­pan’s Tat­suma Ito 7-5, 6-1, 7-6.

Nine months after re­turn­ing to the sport fol­low­ing his one-year ban for a drugs of­fence — and nearly two years after his last match in the main draw of a Grand Slam tour­na­ment — Evans gave a fine demon­stra­tion of his un­doubted tal­ent to se­cure a sec­ond-round en­counter on Wednes­day against ei­ther Roger Fed­erer or De­nis Is­tomin.

Evans did not even have a world rank­ing when he re­turned to the game last April, but worked his way back into the top 200 by the end of the year.

That was good enough to se­cure a place in the qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment and he went on to book his spot in the main draw by win­ning three matches here last week.

Ito, wh o a l s o c a me through the qual­i­fiers, had treat­ment dur­ing the match for a prob­lem with his left thigh, though the world No150 went on to play his best ten­nis in the fi­nal set be­fore Evans won the tie-break 10-8 on his third match point.

Evans said that at dif­fer­ent times he had been ex­pect­ing Ito to re­tire, only to see the Ja­panese pick up his game in the lat­ter stages.

“I p l aye d p re t t y we l l , e s p e c i a l ly to­wards the end,” Evans said. “But I’ve ob­vi­ously got to try and be smarter on the court, like when I get a chance, to take it straight away.”

Evans said he did not feel quite back at his best form but said he was get­ting there slowly “by the day”.

Cameron Nor­rie, the British No2, was un­able to build on his run to the fi­nal of the ATP ASB Clas­sic in Auck­land last week. He con­ceded an early break and was beaten 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 by Tay­lor Fritz, who will be his dou­bles part­ner here later this week.

De­ter­mined: Bri­tain’s Dan Evans

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.