Briton Daniel Evans made it to the semi-finals of the National Bank Open in Montreal by defeating American Tommy Paul in three sets of 1-6, 6-3 and 6-4 on Friday.
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It may not have been the dream poster for this quarter-final match, but the two tennis players of the top 40 gave an excellent show. Their exchanges, as long as they were surprising, made the crowd react, which gradually got to know them.
Evans, 39e ATP-ranked player, showed a lot of character after having a tough first run. Roaring after his winning shots, the 32-year-old veteran got his hands on the second set thanks to the only break of this one.
Frustrated most of the time at the net (success rate of 57%) at the start of the game, the winner changed his way of playing, betting on power to push his rival into a foul. The latter had an impressive total of 41 winners, against 17 for Evans, but was less consistent in the second half.
The Briton saved two break points in brilliant fashion in the eighth game of the final set, and eventually ended the dispute on his serve two games later.
“He missed a few balls in the third inning and I didn’t let go of him after that and put pressure on him,” Evans explained after the game.
Winner of a single career title on the ATP circuit, in Melbourne in 2021, he reached the semi-finals of a 1000 category tournament for only the second time. also continued his career in doubles in Montreal.
“I am happy. Those who tell you not to think about the semi-final stage are lying to you. […] That’s what we play for, for moments like these,” he added.
A worthy journey
Faller of the Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the first round, Paul had continued by extracting a result from the second seed, the young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. Full of confidence after this victory, he then had no trouble getting rid of Croatian Marin Cilic on Thursday.
All the assurance in the game of the American was once again put forward against Evans in the first set. Aiming for the corners with powerful forehands, he broke for the first time in the fourth game. With a bit of luck, thanks to a ball that ricocheted at the net, he pulled off a second steal of service before the end of the first set. . It allowed him to sail easily towards the score of 6-1.
“I didn’t think he could maintain that pace. If he had, I would have crossed over to shake his hand. I don’t feel like it really should have ended 6-1, but he was too strong,” Evans said.
In the next round, he will play against the experienced Pablo Carreno-Busta. The Spaniard came into his own after a hard-fought first set and defeated British qualifier Jack Draper in straight sets 7-6(4), 6-1 later Friday night.