Tommy Robredo recovered from a set down to defeat Dan Evans 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to book his place in the second round at the French Open in what is his last tournament with a protected ranking.
Evans has been very public about his dissatisfaction and lack of confidence playing on the clay but any signs of that looked far from his mind as he took a set and a break lead. Robredo did not panic and dug deep to get himself back in the set and once he snatched that he was in command. Breaks were traded but the 35-year-old was always in control and wrapped up the match after two hours and 47 minutes.
Elsewhere on day one at Roland Garros there were victories for three of Robredo’s Spanish compatriots. 19th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas defeated qualifier Marius Copil 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, while 20th seed Pablo Carreno Busta eliminated Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez upset 26th seed Gilles Muller, winning 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-2. There were also wins for Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi, Mikhail Kukushkin, Taro Daniel and Horacio Zeballos.
* Article originally published by me for UBITennis.net *
Robredo outlasts Evans
Evans got off to the perfect start in the blistering Paris heat, breaking his opponent’s serve immediately. The Brit was very fired up and swiftly took a 2-0 lead, but the highly experienced Spaniard hit back immediately, reeling off three games in a row to move in front.
After a series of service holds Evans capitalised at the perfect time, breaking in the eleventh game after forcing Robredo wide with a forehand to give himself the opportunity to serve for the opening set.
The Brit had impressed throughout the match on serve and only dropped two points behind his first serve as he closed it out on his second set point, sealing it with a powerfully struck forehand which his opponent could not return.
The British number three appeared to be struggling with an issue regarding his stomach and left the court at the end of the set but that did appear to affect him back on the court. Evans quickly moved to two break points and despite Robredo saving the first with a backhand volley, a backhand down the line winner from the Brit secured an immediate break and put him in charge of the first round match.
After losing five games in a row Robredo responded with three in a row of his own, breaking Evans to love as he closed out a perfect game with a forehand cross court winner. In the 10th game Evans’ level dropped, with a double fault, two missed volleys and a forehand long costing the Brit the game and the set as the 35-year-old levelled at one set all.
Robredo was the more animated player at the start of the third and it was his time to make the perfect start, winning four points in a row from 30-0 down to break his opponent’s serve before swiftly taking a 3-0 lead.
With Evans’ challenge in this match somewhat fading, his opponent offered up a lifeline in the fifth game, playing several loose points on serve and the Brit capitalised to get back on serve. The reprieve did not last long as Robredo re-engaged, racing to a 0-40 advantage. The Brit saved the first break point with an overhead smash but has no answers to his opponent’s groundstrokes on the second opportunity to regain the break advantage.
The lapses on serve continued, with Robredo once again failing to stamp his authority on the match, dropping serve to love before regaining the break once again to move 5-3 in front. On this occasion the Spaniard had no trouble closing out the set on serve, moving just one set away from a place in the second round.
With Evans hitting 10 unforced errors compared to just five winners the odds of the Brit turning the match around looked slim. The odds of a comeback became even greater when Robredo secured an immediate break of serve. Seemingly on his last legs, the Brit staved off a break point in the third game to keep himself in the match.
Evans had the chance to hold in the fifth game to continue to stay in touch, but could not resist the pressure from Robredo as he moved up a double break and closed in at 5-1 up. Robredo broke serve in the very next game courtesy of a double fault from the Brit to secure a four set victory 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.