By Kieran Jackson

  • Dan Evans beats third seed Ilya Ivashka – James Ward, Alexander Ward and Lloyd Glasspool also progress
  • Teenagers George Loffhagen, Aidan McHugh, Jack Draper and Anton Matusevich miss out on second round spots
  • Thanasi Kokkinakis, Bernard Tomic, Ernests Gulbis and Jurgen Melzer win; Dustin Brown out
ROEHAMPTON, UK – Dan Evans beat third seed Ilya Ivashka during a mixed bag for British men on day one at Wimbledon qualifying.

 

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After being denied a wild card into Wimbledon by the AELTC last week, former world no. 41 Dan Evans won his fourth match towards the main draw today at the Bank of England Club in Roehampton. Dealt a tough opening round draw in world no. 126 Ilya Ivashka, after coming through three pre-qualifying matches last week, Evans took to his task with professionalism and class.

After breaking the 24-year-old early in both sets, Evans looked assured and confident behind his serve, continuing to play seemingly without pressure amidst an excellent run on the grass which saw him reach the final of the Nottingham Challenger two weeks ago. Evans served out the match, winning 6-4 6-4 and sealing victory with a beautifully executed backhand drop shot.

Speaking to BBC Sport after his match, Evans was pleased with his level of performance. “I played well and it was a tough match against one of the better guys in the draw,” said Evans. “I missed tennis a lot and it’s just good to be out again. It’s great to be back on court.”

Evans’ win wasn’t the only British success though.

James Ward in the Loughborough Challenger, 2018

James Ward in the Loughborough Challenger, 2018 | (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images for LTA)

James Ward, a member of Great Britain’s winning Davis Cup team in 2015, has had a torrid time with injuries in the last few years and is currently languishing at 362 in the world rankings. Yet the 31-year-old is one step closer to reaching the main draw after a morale-boosting win against No. 198 in the world Marco Trungelliti (ARG) 6-3 7-6(0). He will play 14thseed Bjorn Fratangelo in round two.

There was also success for namesake (though the pair are not related) Alexander Ward, who beat Darian King (BAH) 4-6 7-5 6-0. Ward, who qualified for the main draw last year, will play Lleyton Hewitt‘s protégé Alex Bolt (AUS) in the next round.

Lloyd Glasspool, who took the other wild card spot from pre-qualifying alongside Evans, is also two matches away from the main draw, after beating Sergio Gutierrez-Ferrol 7-5 7-5. Glasspool, who at 581 was 343 places below his Spanish opponent in the world rankings, has another huge ranking deficit to overcome in his next match as he plays Frenchman Stephane Robert, who is 170 in the world.

However, there was British disappointment as well in the men’s singles, as teenagers George Loffhagen, Aidan McHugh, Jack Draper, and Anton Matusevich all failed to convert the chances their wild cards offered to them.

Loffhagen, 17, fought valiantly in a 7-6(4) 6-0 loss to fifth seed Jurgen Zopp (EST), whilst 17-year old McHugh, who was recently signed up to Andy Murray’s management group 77, slumped to a 6-2 6-4 loss to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP). Draper, 16, and Matusevich, 17, also failed to win a set in their losses to Mohamed Safwat and Zdenek Kolar respectively. Draper lost 6-4 6-4, and Matusevich 6-1 7-6(1).

Meanwhile, there were some notable names in first round action at Roehampton, with the majority pulling through to Wednesday’s second round. The much maligned Australian Bernard Tomic, now ranked 146 in the world, beat Matteo Donati (ITA) 76(1) 63 and compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis, who beat Roger Federer in Miami in March, won a tight match against El Salvadoran Marcelo Arevalo 3-6 7-6(3) 6-4.

Former top-10 player Jurgen Melzer, now 37-years-old, beat Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 6-3 6-7(3) 6-2 and Latvian Ernests Gulbis beat Filip Peliwo (CAN) 7-5 6-2. Yet there will be no more Wimbledon singles action for entertainer Dustin Brown. The German, who beat Rafael Nadal at the All England Club in 2015, was thrashed by 20-year-old Stefan Kozlov (USA) 63 61.

Play continues on Tuesday at 11:00 as women’s singles action gets underway in Roehampton.

 

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