ATP Citi Open: Dan Evans defeats Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets to reach the third round

Dan Evans booked his place in the third round of the Citi Open after a fairly straightforward win over former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4 in 1 hour 22 minutes in Washington.

The two players had met once before prior to this meeting, with Dimitrov winning on that occasion in three sets on the grass courts of Eastbourne in 2011.

Bright start for the Brit

Evans got off to a flying start, breaking the Bulgarian in the opening game of the match despite the 12th seed leading 30-0. Trailing 2-0, Dimitrov managed to get on the board with a service hold to love to settle into the match.

A double-fault put the Bulgarian under pressure on serve at deuce, but the Brit was unable to force the issue on the two deuce points he contested as Dimitrov pulled the score back to 3-2.

A backhand into the net put the Brit on the brink of relinquishing serve at break point down. Despite firing down a big first serve, the Bulgarian blocked the slice return into play and Evans netted another backhand to lose the break and be pegged back at 4-4.

Any disappointment from dropping serve in that last game did not look to have been carried into game nine by Evans. The Brit came out firing and moved to two break points. The world number 82 narrowly missed an aggressive second serve cross court return wide on the first break point but capitalised on the second to move 5-4 in front.

When serving for the set an untimely double fault put the Brit break point down again. However, a series of well constructed, aggressive points helped Evans recover to seal the first set 6-4 after 39 minutes.

Dimitrov is currently ranked at world number 40, his lowest ranking since February 2013. Photo: Noel Alberto
Dimitrov is currently ranked at world number 40, his lowest ranking since February 2013. Photo: Noel Alberto

Missed opportunities for Dimitrov

Dimitrov held to start the second set and led 0-30 on the Brit’s serve. The world number 82 reached game point but could not get over the line as the Bulgarian got to break point for the third successive game. As he did when serving for the first set, Evans denied the 12th seed and held to level at 1-1.

The momentum shifted Evans way once again after a missed opportunity for the world number 40. The Brit brought up two break points in the third game and a double fault on the second of those opportunities gifted the break.

The British number four was down 0-30 and break point once again in game number four┬ábut hung tough to hang on to his serve. Evans held his next game to love and moved to 0-40 in the Bulgarian’s next service game. Dimitrov saved all three opportunities but produced another couple of errors to drop serve once more.

Evans gets over the line

The match looked to be all over as the Brit reached 40-0, but the 12th seed was sparked into life, capitalising on Evans’ nerves as be broke back, winning nine points in a row to move back to 5-4 behind.

The world number 82 did not blink this time as he secured the win on his fifth match point to book a third round meeting with either Jack Sock or Lukas Lacko.

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