Dan Evans confessed he felt extremely proud after beating Andy Murrayin the Schroders Battle of the Brits semifinal. Behind closed doors in Roehampton, the Brit No.1 admitted that came through winning in this environment, in a semi-final, is not his typical bread and butter.
He had to work for his victory, Murray lacked the intensity of his good old days but refused to give points for free. And the clash completely lived up to the expectations.
The former World No.1 claimed the first set 6-1 then, as he admitted in the post-match interview, his level dropped a little bit.
“I’ve not been able to sustain a high level for long enough. My game’s there, I just need more time to practice and (…) That’s something that when I was up at the top of the game and competing regularly is that my level was the same throughout whereas I’m just struggling to maintain that. Probably just through lack of matches and then shot selection dropped off a little bit and makes it a bit harder.”
(Quotes contributed by Ros Satar)
Murray served well and came to the net quite frequently in the opening set, but the Brit No.1 turned the tables as he build a 3-0 lead in the second set. Happy with the way he moved, Evans was pretty resilient after the first set and it paid dividends.
The two-time Wimbledon champion won four of the opening five points in the final set tiebreak, but Evans came back to win it 10-8. The World No.129 looked optimistic after his week in Roehampton.
“There’s things in a Slam or on tour that I would do differently out there and play slightly different tennis at different times of the matches but I think from a physical perspective, I did pretty well. (…) I coped with it physically relatively well. I thought I moved better with each match. I think I was playing a little bit more confidently, maybe a little bit more comfortable but I think it was a positive week.”
(Quotes contributed by Ros Satar)
He is not expected to play other events until Washington. Evans, on the contrary, will meet Kyle Edmundfor the title.
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This is an exhibition event but the quality has been high also in the second semi-final. Edmund lacked a bit of energy in the opening stages as he struggled to expose Cameron Norrie‘s defensive weakness. The former Wold No.41 reacted to the South-African born serve-and-forehand scheme and asserted his authority in a one-sided tiebreak.
Then, Edmund upped both his energy and raised his level. He moved onto the court more frequently to seal the point shortly. He kept battling away and his tennis got better and better as that set went on.
He was on the back foot for about most of the clash but still managed to find a way through, helped by 14 aces, while Norrie was left screaming in frustration as he fell on his back in the last point of the semi-final.
They struggled, they stuttered, they moved ahead of the group by a single game, they always had to come from behind. But, in the end, they won the title. Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski are the doubles champions at the first edition of the Schroders Battle of the Brits. As they did in the crucial group-stage match, they defeated singles finalist Evans and Lloyd Glasspool again in the title match.
Murray & Skupski lost the opening set 0-6 but managed to regain drive and range after that unexpected bagel. They won a one-sided second set and took a 5-2 lead in the super tie-break, but their opponents moved back to 6-7 as Evans played a risky forehand winner. Skupski’s aggressive play drew errors from the opposition, leaving Murray to serve out for the title of his own tournament.
Play starts on Sunday at 1pm (BST).
-Watch the Battle of the Brits as tennis returns to UK TV – Click to try Amazon Prime for Free-
Amazon Prime will show Andy and Jamie Murray, Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund in singles & doubles action
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