By Glenys Furness
- Kyle Edmund eased into the final without dropping a set
- Dan Evans battled through to make an all GB final
DALLAS, USA – Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans make it an all-GB Challenger final – the first since 2005.
Edmund did not drop a set on the way to the final, the second seed easing through in straight sets to make second final appearance in two weeks with Evans scoring impressive wins along the way.
Coming off the back of a final appearance last week, Edmund the second seed faced a wildcard in the first round. After taking the first set against Sekou Bangoura on a tiebreak the Brit had a much easier time in the second set easing through into the next round 6-2. The second seed then faced James McGee in the second round, the Brit soon found himself a set up 6-3 without much difficulty. McGee was not going away though, after Edmund broke at the start of the first, McGee broke immediately back again. The second seed held on and managed to break later in the set to lead 5-3.
Edmund served out and moved into the quarter final where he faced Grega Zemlja. Zemlja had won the only previous meeting between the two, at Queens in 2013, where the Slovenian took that match 6-4, 7-6. The Brit was looking to overturn the head to head, and in a tight first set got the vital break at the end of the set to lead 7-5. The second seed then really found a way into the Zemlja serve and had soon taken the set with a breadstick to book a spot in the semi-final.
There the second seed faced fourth seed Tim Smyczek. The American proved a tough opponent for the Brit, but Edmund again secured the first set at the vital moment, taking it 7-5. The second set saw the Brit face no break points at all, and took one of the two created to book a final spot taking the set 6-3. Edmund is back in the top 100 with the journey to the final, provisionally standing at 91, if he wins the final it will take the Brit ranking into the top 80 provisionally and a new career high.
In the first round Evans faced Andrey Rublev and although kept the set competitive was broken to lose the first set 5-7. Evans then found a way into the Rublev serve to take the second and third sets comfortably 6-4, 6-3 to book a second round spot. Standing in the way of Evans and a quarter final berth was Bjorn Fratangelo. The eighth seed was unable to get anything on to the serve of Evans who progressed with ease to the quarter finals 6-2, 6-3, where the Brit faced another seed in Benjamin Becker.
The German was seeded third and Evans ranked much lower should have lost at this stage. The Brit though, never read the script and was soon all over the German. Taking the first set by a breadstick, Evans was one set away from the Semi Final. Keeping the momentum going in the second set, Evans still did not allow Becker any room as the seed struggled with the Brits serve. Evans secured the break needed to defeat the third seed in straight sets as the second was 6-4.
The semi-final proved to be a very tough match for Evans, as he faced the sixth seed Tatsumo Ito. The Brit got off to the best start as he broke three times in the first set, whilst the Japanese only managed to break the Brit once. Evans soon had the set 6-2 and was one step away from the final. Ito came into the second set playing better, the sixth seed began to find a way into the Brit serve.
The Japanese player managed to level the semi final taking the set 6-4, the match would go the distance. The final set saw Evans really dominating, the Brit appeared determined to reach the final, serving up a breadstick to seal the final spot. Evans will be provisionally ranked at 158 and the new British number four, overtaking James Ward who has not yet played a match this season. If Evans wins the Battle of the Brits in the Dallas final, his ranking could break into the top 150.
The final will take place at approx 2am GMT 7th February
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