Dan Evans, projected to break for the first time into the Top 35 after his stunning performances at the ATP Cup, will face Juan Ignacio Londero from Argentina to open his campaign at the new Adelaide International. The winner of this clash will play the No.5 seed Taylor Fritz or the unorthodox Kazakh Alexander Bublik in the second round, in the bottom half of the draw.
The creative Brit has never met the gritty South American who began the Cordoba Open last year without a tour-level victory. At the end of the week, he celebrated his maiden ATP title. Londero clinched 22 matches in 2019, impressively reaching the Roland Garros fourth-round a few months later, losing only to Rafael Nadal in his first main-draw appearance in the tournament. With a renewed belief in his possibilities, he finished last season inside the Top 50.
The Argentinian completely changed his approach and perspective after that maiden victory. His game became more proactive during the past season. He recurs to inside-out forehands to take control of the rallies and often goes for a down-the-line winner.
Evans could use his vast array of shots and tricks to open up the court and come to the net as soon as possible. Anticipation and variety will be the key against a quick, solid defender who knows how to counter-attack quickly.
The real challenge for the top-ranked British singles player is to fully translate the superb tennis he has played in the Davis Cup and the ATP Cup into the circuit. He’s got a singular, special talent. Even Roger Federercompared Evans’ style to his own and invited the Brit to practice with him. Tim Henman, the British captain in the ATP Cup, noted that he has a lot of options in his game. He can master his trademark sliced backhands, change the pace of the rallies, or upset his opponents serving and volleying. Now he has the chance to use the ATP Cup performances as a springboard at the start of this season.
Evans will start as the man to beat in this first-round clash. The World No.50, who moved to Buenos Aires on his own at age 15 to continue his tennis development, has played just 31 matches on hard-courts in Challengers and tour-level events, winning nine. On this surface, the Brummie is expected to maintain a significant, decisive edge.
Prediction: Evans in straight sets
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