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  • Chris Sobey

Tennis


The US Open has now reached the midway stage and before I move on to preview the remaining men’s and women’s matches I have to give a mention to Britain’s Dan Evans who came within a whisker of reaching the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career against Stan Wawrinka on Saturday night. Evans has proved too be a frustrating and controversial figure at times during his career and he would admit himself professional tennis was never at the top of his list of priorities.

However, he has fully committed himself to the game over the last couple of seasons and his commitment and hard work has paid off in a very short space of time, culminating in breaking in to the top 100 and moving close to the top-50 after his highly impressive run at the US Open this week. Evans looked set to reach his first ever Grand Slam fourth round on Saturday night when he stunned third seed Wawrinka by taking a two sets to one lead, went 5-3 up in the fourth set tie break and had a match point later in the tie break on Wawrinka’s serve.

However, Wawrinka’s big match experience and superior physical and mental conditioning came to the fore during the tie break, eventually scraping through it 10-8, and he went on to win the fifth set comfortably as Evans failed to recover mentally from the disappointment of having the match snatched from his grasp.

Top-seed Novak Djokovic and second seed Andy Murray are still on track to meet in their third Grand Slam final of the season after they contested the Australian and French Open finals, both of which Djokovic won. Both players have reached the fourth round stage in markedly different ways; Djokovic has played and won one competitive match, while his second and third round matches ended prematurely due to Vesely and Youzhny retiring injured, which could prove to be a blessing in disguise given his recent wrist injury.

Murray has played three competitive matches, winning the first two comfortably in straight sets, but his last encounter against Lorenzi proved to be more of a challenge, and during the first two sets it looked like a very busy and successful summer hard court schedule might be taking its toll. However, he recovered from losing the second set and proceeded to win the last two in a more accustomed fashion, and his team and supporters alike will hope that his uncharacteristic performance during the first two sets was just a blip and not a sign of overall fatigue.

Murray has the advantage of a day’s rest now before playing his biggest test of the tournament so far against 22nd seed Grigor Dimitrov tomorrow evening, but even if he overcomes this hurdle the matches won’t get any easier with the likes of sixth seed Nishikori, 21st seed Karlovic, third seed Wawrinka, eighth seed Thiem and Del Potro potentially lying in wait. At the time of writing Djokovic was due to face one of the four unseeded players left in the draw, Britain’s Kyle Edmunds who along with Evans, has been a revelation so far this fortnight and no matter the result he can be extremely proud of his achievements.

While there were disappointments for my Quarter betting advice, Cilic lost to the impressive Sock in straight sets and Kyrgios (retired injured), we will hopefully still have Monfils (200/1 Ante Post), Konta (66/1 Ante Post) and Kvitova (22/1) through to the quarter-finals by the time you read this article.


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