• Dan Evans [32] v Kei Nishikori | H2H: Nishikori leads 2-1
  • Tough start for Evans as he bids to get past the first round for the first time
PARIS, FRANCE – British No. 1 Dan Evans will look for a first second round appearance as he takes on Kei Nishikori, unseeded at Roland Garros this year.

 

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Dan Evans [32] v Kei Nishikori | H2H: Nishikori leads 2-1

In a similar scenario that faced British women’s No. 1 Johanna Konta last year, Dan Evans comes in still searching for an elusive first round win at Roland Garros. Clay is by no means his favourite surface and indeed he is still searching for a first clay court win, albeit in a very disrupted year.

He ruefully admitted to reporters in a pre-tournament press conference that as a seed, this could not have been a worse draw as he faces a three-time quarter-finalist in Kei Nishikori. However, while Evans was front and centre stalwart at both Battle of the Brits tournaments during the restart, Nishikori was inactive since the 2019 US Open after undergoing elbow surgery on October of that year.

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He was set to make his return in Cincinnati and the US Open but had to withdraw from both after testing positive for COVID-19.

His progress on the European clay has been tentative to say the least with just one win in Rome, but even so, that is one win on the dirt more than Evans and obviously has more of a clay court pedigree and in other circumstances would come into this the clear favourite.

What Evans does have going for him I his aggressive play – and with the heavy claggy conditions and balls, if he can hit hard through the ball, he might have a chance of winning some first strike points against the equally nimble Nishikori.

The Japanese player will be giving his recovered elbow a really good test in what is already shaping up to be somewhat gladiatorial conditions.

Evans famously claimed his scalp in his solid run at the US Open in 2013 having come through qualifying, but since then Nishikori has got the better of him on hard courts, and the Brit will have to hope that conditions in Paris make this clay court encounter a bit more of a leveller.

It is a tough one to call, but Evans is a lot more match-tight but will have to work for this quite hard.

Prediction: Evans in four sets.

Evans & Nishikori are scheduled second on Court 14, not before 12:30pm (11:30am BST).

 

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