Dan Evans v Jurij Rodionov [WC] | H2H: Tied at 1-1
VIENNA, AUSTRIA – Dan Evans faces wildcard Jurij Rodionov for a spot in second quarter-final in as many weeks, at the Erste Bank Open.
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Dan Evans def. Aljaz Bedene 6-3 4-5 RET
In the clash of the former Brits, it was Dan Evans, who started the more confidently, striking first with a break at the first chance. That is not to say that Aljaz Bedene did not have his chances but squandered three break points immediately after being broken himself to square things up.
It was a far closer affair in the second set, with not even a sniff of a break point, but Bedene had the trainer out for a leg injury and as the set wore on, he looked inhibited before finally returning after leading on serve 5-4.
Next up for the Brit is Jurij Rodionov – a home-wildcard who once got the measure of Evans as he was making his comeback on the tour following his drugs ban, after having tested positive for cocaine.
In their most recent encounter as Evans was steadily working his way back on the tour and was taken the distance in their Australian Open qualifying round.
Rodionov is not to be taken lightly – he beat Denis Shapovalovon his Erste Bank Open main draw debut this week and the 21-year-old had never even faced a Top 20 player before and had never won an ATP Tour level main draw before getting his wildcard for ATP Austria this week.
His confidence does not end there and if the name sounds a bit familiar, he took French hope Jeremy Chardy the distance in the first round of Roland Garros, coming through qualifying to reach the second round.
Evans is not without a little momentum too – despite a slow start on the tour restart, he put a five-match losing streak behind him to return to winning ways as the indoor season has gathered some steam. Reaching the semi-final last week puts him firmly as a favourite and he will need all the variety he has at his disposal to handle the Austrian’s solid serving.
Prediction: Evans in three sets.
Evans and Rodionov are scheduled first on Centre Court at 2pm (1pm GMT).
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