By Ros Satar
- Dan Evans [Q] def. Frances Tiafoe  3-6 7-6(1) 7-5
- Evans v Lloyd Harris [WC] | First Meeting
DELRAY BEACH, USA – Dan Evans stunned defending champion Frances Tiafoe in Delray Beach to make the second round against wildcard Lloyd Harris.
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Dan Evans [Q] def. Frances Tiafoe  3-6 7-6(1) 7-5
Having come through qualifying, it was perhaps a slightly more match-fit Dan Evans who got the better of defending champion Frances Tiafoe in the American’s opening round at Delray Beach. Tiafoe, whose humble back story and exuberant celebrations round on round endeared him to many on his run to the Australian Open semi-final, looked to be very much in control as he broke the Brit twice in succession at the start of the match.
Evans got one break back, but the first set was Tiafoe’s as he looked to start his first ever title defence. The second set was far more competitive as Evans settled in to the match, with just a trade of breaks t the end of the set with Evans pegging Tiafoe back to force a tie-break. After losing the first mini-break of serve, Evans ran away with the tie-break, winning seven points on the run to even up the match.
Again it was Tiafoe that made the first strike in the third set with an early break in the decider, while Evans was frustrated to see break-back chances go begging. However, he kept on applying the pressure, rewarded with two straight breaks, and despite Tiafoe drawing level for 5-5, Evans broke back again for the advantage, serving out to love for a solid win.
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Evans v Lloyd Harris [WC] | First Meeting
Lloyd Harris, a wildcard from South Africa may not be as well-known as Evans, but is certainly not to be treated lightly. Although like Evans, he has had to ply his trade mostly on the Challenger tour, he attracted a lot of attention back home in South Africa as he ploughed through qualifying at the US Open to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Almost quitting the sport through lack of sponsorship, Harris has the drive and focus to succeed – something that has not always been Evans’ forte but when he does start getting a bit of confidence and bigger results behind him, it seems to spur the Brit on.
Although he has now cracked the Top 100 and as such, on paper at least, he ought to have the measure of Evans, it was not that long ago when the Brit had cracked the Top 50 and he knows he not only has the game, but more importantly the experience at a tour level.
A hard fought win over a defending champion counts for a lot, and the attention that garners is fuel for Evans who comes alive when he is the outright underdog, as he will have been against Tiafoe.
Prediction: Evans in three sets.
Evans and Harris are scheduled on Stadium Court, not before 2:30pm (7:30pm GMT)
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