By Ros Satar

  • Dan Evans def. Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-3 2-6 6-3
  • Faces Lucas Pouille [25] for the first time
  • Cameron Norrie and Kyle Edmund both out in tense five setters in the first round
NEW YORK, USA – British No. 2 Dan Evans remains the sole British male standing in the singles after both Cameron Norrie and Kyle Edmund were beaten in five setters in the first round.

 

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Dan Evans def. Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-3 2-6 6-3

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In a match where it was touch and go as to who was beating themselves up the most, Dan Evans prevailed over France’s Adrian Mannarino, maintaining his perfect record in the main draw of the US Open of progressing to the second round, although it was accompanied with a lot of monologues, gesturing and general Evanisms being bandied about as he railed at himself and his box, despite looking to be very much in control of the match from the off.

He was the one exerting the pressure first on Mannarino, forcing the Frenchman to save break points before finally converting on his fifth chance, taking the lead in the set. His own serve came under pressure as Mannarino tried and failed to get the break back immediately leaving Evans to close out the first set.

Mannarino was the one to strike first in the second set, but the British No. 2 rallied to break the Frenchman three times in a row, although Mannarino saved five set points before Evans finally broke for the set.

The Frenchman again struck early in the third set as Evans started to look increasingly hot and bothered, losing his serve a second set for Mannarino to get the third set. The fourth set saw Evans get a late break before serving out the set to love.

 

Evans v Lucas Pouille [25]

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Although this is their first meeting, and on paper Lucas Pouille looks to be the more superior player, he has not had the greatest of seasons, having had nine opening round losses in tour events this season, but his ranking has been saved in the Slams, reaching the semi-final of the Australian Open and the third round of Wimbledon this year.

Possessed of solid groundstrokes with a preferred forehand, but a very capable backhand, he has pace and variety that will test the Brit, who can turn a few tricks in turn of shot selection and court coverage himself.

He has been a former quarter-finalist at the US Open but is up against Evans’ record this year of 47 wins and you could argue that Evans has been a little more consistent this year. He has scored some big scalps in the past, and if he can dig deep in the heat of the day to drag his out, he might just do it again.

Prediction: Evans in five sets.

 

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Norrie and Edmund lose out in five-set heartbreakers.

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Perhaps the tougher of the first round losses for the Brits was Cameron Norrie, against qualifier Gregoire Barrere. A highly competitive first set was let down by a very lacklustre tie-break from Norrie as the Frenchman kept the Brit at bay. In fact for the first two sets, Barrere was the aggressor, and rewarded with a single break in the second set to make it a long climb back for the British No. 3.

Yet fight back he did, coming from a break down in the third set and breaking Barrere down consistently, first pegging back the deficit, an then breaking once more for the set. It was a much more commanding performance in the fourth set, breaking for a 3-0 lead before losing that lead as the Frenchman hit back with two breaks of his own. Norrie saved two match points to break and eventually force another tie-break.

Again it was a slow start for the Brit, quickly falling behind but this time Barrere visibly tightened the closer he got to the finishing line and Norrie kept his calm, whittling back the deficit before converting to level the match.

The drama would continue as first Norrie seized the lead in the decider before three straight breaks leaving Barrere to force a final tie-break. Despite taking the first mini-break Norrie gave up his own serve twice in a row, saving a match point but going down in the first round.

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Kyle Edmund also found himself on the losing end of a gruelling five setter, without the benefit of quite the glorious comeback we saw from Norrie. Despite losing his opening serve, Edmund was firing well initially breaking Pablo Andujar straight back and then going on to break him again at the end of the set before closing out the first set.

Breaking Andujar at the start of the second set and it looked as though Edmund was cruising, but Andujar got the break back, levelling at 4-4 and going on to force a tie-break, which was very one-sided with Edmund only getting one point on the board.

Although Edmund was able to peg the Spaniard back in the third set after an early break, Andujar kept the pressure on, breaking Edmund at the end before serving out the third set to love. Edmund needed to conserve his energy and have patience in a competitive fourth set. The Brit had his chances for a lead, but could not convert, instead getting his reward by breaking Andujar to love to level the match.

It was Edmund to strike first with an early break for a 2-0 lead, but as had been the pattern in this match, was broken back. He had three chances to break the Spaniard again but could not quite get the ob done, before a lengthy game where he managed to save four break points on his own serve, before succumbing on the fifth. From that point his game deserted him, broken for a third straight time, this time to love, leaving Andujar to close out the match.

 

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Evans and Pouille are scheduled second on Court 13, not before 12:30pm (5:30pm BST).

 

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