For the first time since 1974, four British men reached the US Open second round. Dan Evans, the No.23 seed, completed the feat with a straightforward win over former junior champion Thiago Seyboth Wild, who made his main draw debut at Grand Slam level.
The Brit No.1, who reached the US Open third round in 2019, looked untroubled as he drilled 30 winners and committed just 13 unforced errors. He played a fast, effective tennis, putting a constant pressure on the Brazilian’s forehand. The World No.113 finished the match amassing 21 unforced and 12 forced errors off that side.
Evans cruised through the opening sets and was forced to raise his level when the Brazilian began to go more for his shots. The Brit No.1, however, managed to end the match unbroken, winning 79% of first serve points and 69% of points on second deliveries.
In his opening match, Evans served consistently to his opponent’s backhand. In his second round match, he should aim to vary paces and directions against the Frenchman Corentin Moutetwhose one-handed backhand shines as the trademark of a classical, elegant game.
Playing his first tour-level event since the resumption of the ATP Tour, Moutet began the season achieving a career-high No. 70 in FedEx ATP Rankings on 13 January. Runner-up in Doha, where he beat No. 15 Stan Wawrinkaclaiming the biggest win of his career, he moved for the first time beyond the US Open first round.
He came off a 6-4 6-4 7-5 win over hard-hitting Jiri Vesely. He converted the only break point chance in the first set, made the difference with a clinical break and a love service game to clinch the second, came back from 1-4 down in the third. The agile 21-years-old managed to extend the rallies, forcing the lefty Czech to hit more balls than he’d have liked to.
The Frenchman remained focused and consistent, discovering a new stability in his approach, mirrored in his behaviour on court. It’s not irrelevant for a young player known for his artistic temperament. Arts and crafts have a place in his life, as he testified on his Instagram profile during the pandemic.
Celebrated for his venomous drop-shots and his skills as a piano player, Moutet began to write songs during the hiatus from tennis. He showed himself singing or rapping to share his feelings, and he received massive appreciation from tennis fans.
In a clash of vintage tennis, made of touch and brilliance more than brutal force, Evans seems to have enough weapons to rise to the challenge and reach his joint-best result at US Open, where he went one-point away from the fourth-round in 2016. But after a four-hour thriller he surrendered to Wawrinka. The Swiss became the seventh and most recent player to win the US Open after saving a match point.
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