By Alessandro Mastroluca
- Dan Evans def. Fabio Fognini  3-6 6-4 7-5
- Dan Evans v Pierre-Hugues Herbert | H2H tied at 1-1
- The Brit No.1 aims to reach the third quarter-final of the season
DUBAI, UAE – Dan Evans came back from a set and a break down to defeat No.4 seed Fabio Fognini. He will face Pierre-Hugues Herbert to reach the third ATP quarterfinal of the season
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Dan Evans def. Fabio Fognini  3-6 6-4 7-5
British No.1 Dan Evans claimed his fourth Top 20 victory this season as he came back from a set and a break down to defeat No.4 seed Fabio Fognini 3-6 6-4 7-5 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The Italian was one of nine players who is making his Dubai debut this week. The Italian reached a career-high of No. 9 last July and at age 32 became the oldest player to enter the Top-10 for the first time.
Evans struggled in the first set against the creative ball-striker who built a 4-0 lead and moved 6-3 3-1 up.
Gradually, Evans began to use his sliced backhands to force the Italian on the back-foot. Fognini tried to run around the ball off the backhand side, but his groundstrokes lost depth and pace. The Italian’s intensity fluctuated, while the Brit No.1 continued to fight. He looked mentally more solid and eventually converted his sixth match point to end a troubled final game and celebrate a crucial win.
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Dan Evans v Pierre-Hugues Herbert | H2H tied at 1-1
Evans improves to 9-4 this season. Two of his four losses this year have come in the quarter-finals at the hands of the eventual champions who are in Dubai this week: Andrey Rublev in Adelaide and Gael Monfils in Rotterdam.
To clinch his third ATP quarter-final of the season, Evans will need to defeat Pierre-Hugues Herbert. The Frenchman beat Delray Beach runner-up Yoshihito Nishioka, who landed at the Aviation Club 8000 miles away with a career-high ranking of No. 48, as the fifth player from Japan to break into the Top-50.
Last week, Herbert lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime in a scintillating second-round clash that finished after a dramatic third-set tiebreak. In Dubai, he found different conditions and warmer temperatures. The quick surface suits his game and he managed to begin his fourth consecutive tournament in as many weeks finding a way to move to the second round.
The Brit won the latest meeting, on grass at Eastbourne last season, while the Frenchman claimed a straight-set victory at a Challenger event in Cherbourg, on hardcourt in France in 2012.
Offering the same tenacious performance saw against Fognini, he could improve to 2-1 in the head to heads and seal the third quarter-final of the season.
Prediction: Evans in three sets
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