Buoyed by some solid ranking points behind him at the ATP Cup, British No. 1 Dan Evans carried through that form into an opening win in Adelaide. Evans struck early and decisively against Juan Ignacio Londero with two breaks in quick succession to build up a strong 5-1 lead in the first set, albeit needing three set points to get the job done in wrapping up the first set.
Londero was the first to break in the second set, but Evans broke straight back to put things back on serve, in what was a more competitive second set for the Argentinian. He fought hard to try and hold on to his serve, deflecting a couple of break points before Evans found a way through for a 5-4 lead. Londero was not done, forcing Evans to save a couple of break points as he tried to serve out for the match, eventually getting it done on his second try.
The last time Evans met the unpredictable Alexander Bublik, it was barely two months ago at the Davis Cup Finals. There the combination of the Kazakhstan fans band, the trick-shot style of play of Bublik and perhaps an element of pressure in being the British No. 1, it took Evans a while to get into his stride, suffering a couple of losses before getting his first win, with palpable relief.
Where Evans has variety, Bublik has developed a show-boating style to make up for a lack of power to his bean-pole frame. Evans had the better of him in the first set in Madrid but was gradually ground down.
He did not have it all his own way at the ATP Cup and had to scrap his way to some fine wins, and comes in with some confidence and a nice kick up the rankings with the points earned. He will most certainly start a lot more match fit and should emerge victorious.
Prediction: Evans in three sets.
Evans and Bublik are scheduled second on Centre Court, not before 12:30pm (2am GMT).
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