Brits make hay in Nottingham; Evans awarded WC to Queens

By Philip James

Davis Cup hero Dan Evans reached the quarter-final of the Aegon Trophy in Nottingham today, just hours after it was announced he had been awarded a wild card entry to Queens.

Evans is not the only Brit enjoying the start of the grass court season.

Jamie Murray has reached the quarters of the men’s double draw, playing with Australian John Peers, and Ken Skupski has reached the same stage partnering his younger brother Neal.

Meanwhile in the women’s draw, Johanna Konta has reached the singles semi-final at Nottingham and Nicola Slater will play in the women’s doubles final.

The Aegon Trophy at the Nottingham Tennis Centre marks the start of the grass court tournament while the French Open is in its second week.

It is a Challenger series tournament for the men and an ITF Pro Circuit for the ladies.

Dan Evans, who beat a player ranked 245 places higher in the Davis Cup in April, is once again showing what he can achieve when he puts his mind to it.

Back in 2012 he also starred in a Davis Cup tie, beating Lukas Lacko and Martin Klizan who at the time were ranked 211 and 156 places above him.

Away from the Davis Cup Evans has struggled to make an impact on the tour but started this week by beating fifth seed and world number 92, Ryan Harrison 6-7, 6-0, 7-6.

Today, the world number 299 from Birmingham followed that up with a 6-2 6-2 win over Brydan Klein.

Klein, who was born in Australia but now represents Great Britain, is ranked 275 and broke Evans on his first service game.

But Evans broke back immediately and never looked back, winning six games in a row to take the set, and then won the second by the same score line to seal the match.

Evans will face 122-ranked Matthew Ebden for a place in the semis.

There was more Brit v Brit action in the doubles as third seeds Murray and Peers saw off Birmingham born Jamie Delgado and his Aussie partner Ebden.

Tomorrow Murray faces his old partner Eric Butorac and partner Rajeev Ram, who are second seeds, with the winner earning a place in the final.

There they may well face the unseeded Skupski brothers, who have already eliminated the top seeds and face fourth seeds Sanchai and Soncha Ratiwatana on Friday.

There is hope of a British champion in the women’s draw too, as Konta faces third seed Karolina Pliskova tomorrow for a place in the final.

At 166th in the world, Konta is 93 places below Pliskova but the Aussie turned Brit has already beaten 82nd ranked Misaki Doi en route to the final.