Dan Evans overcame arch nemesis Kei Nishikori in three tight sets to reach the last 32 at Indian Wells. The opening exchanges of the match went against the status quo of the match as both players held fairly comfortably with not much resistance on return occurring. That soon changed though as both players engaged a wide range of angles, slice and deep shots.
In the middle of the set there were three breaks of serve with Nishikori gaining two of the breaks to move ahead in the set. The former US Open finalist was doing better of the two players in terms of moving their opponent around and hitting aggressive returns. Evans once again had to fight off Nishikori’s returning prowess in the eighth game and managed to just about save five set points to hold with some rushing into the net. However generally it was Nishikori who was more proactive at the net and a love hold sealed the opening set.
In the second set Evans was able to protect his serve more and force more errors from Nishikori’s returning game allowing to be bolder on return himself. The Brit created seven break points in the second set compared zero and Evans only needed to convert one of the break points in the sixth game as he comfortably took the second set 6-3.
Nishikori came out fighting in the third set but was unable to convert any of the two early break point opportunities and wasn’t as potent with his shot placement as opposed to the opening set. That would haunt him as Evans capitalised in the seventh game with some deep forehands sealing the crucial break.
As the world number 53 struggled with a foot injury and the same proactive tactics, Evans pounced and after saving two break points in the tenth game, closed out victory on his second match point to seal a big win and a place in the last 32.
Dan Evans  v Diego Schwartzman  H2H & Match Fundamentals
Schwartzman was able to put his inconsistent form together at the US Open to reach the second week and will be looking to do the same in California. As shown in their match in Cincinnati, the Argentine’s use of cross-court angles can cause Evans problems.
This match isn’t too dissimilar to Nishikori tactically and if Evans can control his service games as well as be aggressive in the key points on his service games than this should be his to lose. But if there is one thing that is guaranteed, Schwartzman will make the Brit work for his victory.
Prediction: Evans in three sets.
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