Dan Evans cruised through to the second round in Adelaide with a straight sets win over Rinky Hijikata. This was the Brit’s first match of the 2024 season and he started the match in the best possible fashion as a mixture of depth and power saw him create three break points in the second game. However Hijikata grinded out the hold as Evans was too passive in the crucial moments as this match was a battle between cat and mouse.
Eventually Evans’ early aggression paid off in the next return game as he continued to dictate play from the forehand return. On his fourth break point, Evans converted with a Hijikata unforced error as he took a 3-1 lead. There were no signs of Evans slowing down as another crushing forehand winner sealed a 4-1 lead after 22 minutes.
There were more break points created by Evans in the sixth game before Hijikata showed signs of life as he remained resilient to hold as he would eventually force the Brit to serve for the opening set. The Australian settled into the match and showed the first signs of threatening Evans’ serve when the Brit was serving for the opening set. However Evans brushed off Hijikata’s comeback as he closed out the opening set with an ace.
In the second set there was more resilience and aggression from Hijikata as he held comfortably in the early stages. The Australian then created his first break points of the match as Evans’ level dipped in the fourth game. However the Brit had no trouble fending off pressure from the Australian as an ace and a forehand winner saw him save the break points as he held for 2-2.
As the set continued, Hijikata continued to add pressure on Evans’ serve as the Australian continued to be smart and proactive in his approach. However the Brit showed great resolve on serve and the Brit’s patience would be rewarded in the ninth game.
The world number 40 crafted out a break point which saw Hijikata double fault to hand Evans the crucial break at 5-4. There was no mistake from Evans as he held comfortably to seal a place in the second round in Adelaide.
Dan Evans v Alexander Bublik  H2H & Match Fundamentals
Evans will need to keep his aggression on serve especially against an efficient returner like Bublik.
Playing Styles and Prediction
Bublik had a successful 2023 season having won one of the biggest titles of his career in Halle as well as winning the title in Antwerp. The next step for Bublik will be to reach the latter stage of Grand Slams as he has the potential to test the best players in the world, the question remains whether the hunger and discipline is there to do it.
Evans will look to be aggressive on serve as he looks to neutralise Bublik’s efficiency on return while also being aggressive on the forehand return on the Bublik second serve. Meanwhile the Kazakh will look to produce consistent numbers on serve as well as using his forehand to dictate play from the baseline. This will be an explosive match-up between two fiery personalities but Bublik’s big serve and efficiency on big points may be the difference here.
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