By Philip James

Dan Evans lost his first round match in a Challenger in California this evening, beaten 6-4 6-4 by Peter Gojowczyk.

Evans continues to struggle to find the form which saw him reach two Challenger finals and the US Open third round in the summer.

Playing at the First Republic Bank Tiburon hard court Challenger, Evans failed to create a break point against the 24-year-old German.

Gojowczyk is ranked 162nd in the world, seven places below Birmingham-born Evans and is an opponent that  Britain’s number two male tennis player should be beating if he wants to continue to rise in the rankings.

Evans lost in the final of Challengers in Vancouver and California in August before qualifying for the US Open and beating 11th seed Kei Nishikori and 52nd-ranked Bernard Tomic in the main draw.

Those results saw him rise to a career high 149th in the world but since then has lost in the first round of the Napa Valley Challenger to 5th seed Bradley Klahn, and in the second round in Sacramento to a player outside the top 500.

Meanwhile in France, there were mixed fortunes for the Brits at the Open de Rennes Challenger hard court tournament.

Ken and Neal Skupski continue their fine form beating Flavio Cipolla and Jan Hajek 6-3 7-5; the brother have won two of their last three Challenger tournaments and made the semi-final of the third.

Jamie Delgado and Australian partner Jordan Kerr were eliminated however, losing 6-2 6-2 to 4th seeds Oliver Marach and Florin Mergea.

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