Sports

US Open 2021: Dan Evans beats Marcos Giron to reach third round

Dan Evans has never gone beyond the US Open third round, having lost there in 2013, 2016 and 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 30 August-12 September
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra/BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

British number one Dan Evans equalled his best performance at the US Open by reaching the third round at a rain-affected Flushing Meadows.

In a match twice stopped by rain, Evans eventually won 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 6-3 against American hope Marcos Giron.

The 24th seed plays Australia’s Alexei Popyrin, who beat Bulgarian 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov, in the third round.

Evans is the final British hope in the men’s singles, with only teenager Emma Raducanu left in the women’s draw.

Raducanu, 18, plays China’s Zhang Shuai – ranked 49th in the world – in her second-round match on Thursday.

Emotional Evans puts Covid struggles behind him

In his opening four-set win against Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, Evans struggled in the hot and humid conditions but looked much more comfortable in the cooler, wetter weather on Wednesday.

Evans has not played many matches since catching Covid-19 last month and said he hoped the struggle against Monteiro was down to the lack of minutes in the legs rather than any lasting effects from the coronavirus.

Former British number one Greg Rusedski, speaking in his role as an analyst for Amazon Prime, said he thought the first set was the best Evans had played since beating Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo in April.

After beating world number 64 Giron, an emotional Evans said: “I was struggling after Covid and when you’ve got no confidence it is is tough.

“I’ve done great to hang in, if I say so myself, and get physically better. This win meant a lot.”

From the outset against Giron he looked energised and determined to make a fast start.

Breaking his opponent’s serve in the first game of the match ensured Evans did exactly that and the single break was enough for him to win the opener.

Despite the blip of being broken early in the second set, Evans fought back by continuing to serve well and went on to take a two-set lead.

While not his biggest weapon, he landed 80% of first serves in the opening set and almost 70% in the second. That allowed Evans to earn plenty of free points, while Giron was also left befuddled by the Briton’s sliced backhand.

Even a 40-minute rain break at 4-3 in the second set was not enough for Giron to figure it out.

A lapse of concentration from Evans at the start of the third set allowed Giron to gain a foothold with an early break and, after another brief rain delay, the set quickly ran away from the Briton.

The fourth set stayed on serve until a sloppy service game led to Giron being broken for 5-4, moments after Evans signalled he intended to take a medical timeout for a toe injury.

Evans, who said his toe got “stuck” when he slid, continued without treatment and clinched victory with a serve-volley on his first match point.

“I started the third set on the back foot straight away and it just rolled,” Evans said.

“I reset and knew I needed just a third set. I played good and am happy with how I played, especially the way I served aggressive.”

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