Heather Watson also among the day’s winners as she features once more on Day 2
Results from Day 1, Schedule for Day 2 and How to Watch
LONDON, UK – Andy Murray got his measure of revenge over current British No. 1 Dan Evans and Heather Watson sets up our featured match for Day 2 with comfortable start.
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Andy Murray def. Dan Evans 7-6(5) 6-4
All eyes were understandably on Andy Murray and more importantly how his movement was, and in the opening salvos against the current British No. 1 Dan Evans, we were not disappointed. At times some good solid serving, and on the whole his movement looked unimpeded as he made good his revenge for the previous Battle of the Brits encounter with Evans, their first at any level.
Evans gave very much as good as he got, having Murray on the ropes a couple of times, and forcing him to save break points, and perhaps more frustratingly not able to get over the line when he had set-points.
Murray finished the first set tie-break more confidently prompted a distinctly Murray-esque running commentary in the second set from Evans, who found himself getting more and more frustrated as Murray grew more into the match the longer it wore on.
Evans did not play badly by any means, and for so long now, we have become accustomed to a valiant but ultimately futile battle from the Murray the war-horse, but even though it took five match points to put away the World No. 32, it just showed us he is not quite ready to be put out to pasture yet.
With a day off tomorrow, the next test will be to see how Murray pulls up after a long and gruelling match that went over two and a half hours.
While the lockdown domestic matches in the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis event saw Heather Watson make a very compelling case for MVP in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles, her unbeaten run in the singles failed to spark a similar run once the tour restarted.
However, a quick run to the quarter-finals in the Dubai ITF event, after Watson had been struggling with injury saw her make light work of some wayward and underpowered serving from Katy Dunne.
Watson looked very much in control in the first set and kept sustained pressure on Dunne in the second set to pick up the win.
Day 1 Results
Sunday 20 December (Starting at 10:00)
Alicia Barnett def. Naomi Broady
3-6 7-5 10-3
Liam Broady def. Jack Draper 7-6(4) 6-4
Anton Matusevich def. James Ward 6-3 7-6(3)
Heather Watson def. Katy Dunne 6-2 6-3
Beth Grey def. Freya Christie 3-6 6-2 10-7
Andy Murray def. Dan Evans 7-6(5) 6-4
Jan Choinski def. Aidan McHugh 6-4 4-6 10-6
Emma Raducanu def. Eden Silva 6-2 7-6(4)
Liam Broady salvaged some family honour as he came through a tight match against Jack Draper, while older sister Naomi started well but just fell short in her opening match.
The final match of the day saw Emma Raducanu fight heard for her opening win. She dominated Eden Silva in the opening set, but Silva’s patience in trying to play her own game and move forward to capitalise on her solid skills at the net started to pay off as Raducanu faltered while serving for the match, but just couldn’t make the tie-break turn in her favour.
Team Tennis alumni Watson takes on Jodie Burrage, who was also in Dubai ITF as a wildcard. While Burrage could not make as much headway, in the summer she too shone as elite tennis started to find its feet after lockdown.
Having gone on a run of 14 wins in 17 games over the British Tour and Progress Tour events, it looked as though Burrage had finally overcome her injury demons.
Both Watson and Burrage had excelled in the domestic restart and face each other for the first time at any level of competition.
Burrage scored a major scalp in the Team event, beating the British No. 1 Johanna Konta, before them getting to team up with Andy Murray in the mixed doubles the next day!
She serves well, has a nifty backhand and proved she can also return well, and she will need all those attributes if peak Watson is on show. Watson has pepped up her own serve to bring a more aggressive game to the table but matches that with very solid defensive skills and court smarts.
While experience counts a lot for Watson, it would be great to see Burrage build on her domestic summer, which she backed up with some good ITF runs.
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