Dan Evans is into the quarter-finals after a thrilling three set victory over Taylor Fritz in two hours and 44 minutes. It was Fritz who started the match better as his powerful baseline game extracted errors from Evans at key moments. After a long game, Fritz took his fifth break point as he broke for a 2-0 lead.
The American showed his confidence from all areas of the court as the Brit couldn’t find his rhythm and range from the back of the court. Every time Evans had half-opportunities to seize the break back, Fritz shut him down with big serves and bold patterns of play. That was until the ninth game as Evans capitalised on the American’s passive play to break to love with some great returning.
Both players showed their confidence on serve as the opening set went to a tiebreak. In a rollercoaster tiebreak that matched the rest of the set it was Evans who was the smarter player. A quick-fire return forced the unforced error from the American to seal the tiebreak for Evans 7-5.
Having lost the opening set and showing frustration at the end of the set, Fritz regained control and consistency in the second set as Evans couldn’t cut down the unforced errors. The tenth seed showed his clinical efficiency on return as he converted three of his four break points to cruise to the second set 6-1.
There was work for Evans to do as he couldn’t create a single break point in the second set and needed to find a way to neutralise the American’s power. Evans started to find answers in the second set as he used good angles and fast reactions to create a break point in the opening game but was unsuccessful in his attempt.
Fritz responded by creating four break points in the next two return games as he displayed resilience and consistent power causing the Evans slice trouble. However Fritz couldn’t convert any of those break points and it was the Brit who drew first blood breaking on his fifth break point in the fifth game.
It was looking like Evans was cruising to victory but the Brit couldn’t hold his nerve and despite having match point, Fritz showed his quality breaking back on his fourth opportunity for 5-5. However the resistance didn’t last long as Evans continued to show confidence in his returning ability as he broke back for 6-5. The world number 39 then served out the match to love to seal an important victory on the road to the US Open and a place in the last eight in Montreal.
Paul is continuing his good season this week after producing a stellar comeback against Alcaraz to earn one of the best wins of his career. The American backed that up against Marin Cilic and he will hope to bring his athletic and grinding tennis to the court against Evans in a bid to reach a first masters 1000 semi-final.
The key to the match to Evans will be his return as that has gained more and more confidence as the week has progressed. This will be a tricky match but if Evans can remain in the zone and can maintain a high percentage of returns then he should just about edge this match. However any drop off in quality and concentration and Paul will capitalise as his consistency and stamina has remained a solid level all throughout the week.
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