Brit Evans upsets Nishikori in US Open 1st round
British qualifier Daniel Evans’ tattoo was mocked by Laura
Robson, so he questioned some of her hairstyle choices.
British tennis is all smiles these days. At the site of Andy
Murray’s breakthrough last year, Evans notched the first big upset
of this U.S. Open.
Ranked 179th, Evans stunned 11th-seeded Kei Nishikori in
straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, in Monday’s first round. The two
players are both 23, but their careers share little else in
Nishikori was already playing in his 17th major tournament,
coming in with a 25-16 record that includes a run to the
quarterfinals at the 2012 Australian Open. Evans was making his
debut at the U.S. Open and had been 0-2 in Grand Slam matches, both
coming at Wimbledon.
A year ago at this time, Evans was playing a minor-league
Futures event back home. He believed he could reach the sport’s
”But you don’t see a route,” he said. ”It’s a pretty blocked
He had been showing hints of a breakthrough in recent months.
Evans was a late addition to the Great Britain Davis Cup team in
April as the country tries to return to the top level of the
competition. He wound up beating a much higher-ranked opponent in
straight sets in the final match to clinch the squad’s comeback
Evans was ranked 325th in the world at the time. He climbed 156
spots in just over four months.
”I knew I was a good player, but I just hadn’t put it all
together,” Evans said. ”I was pretty calm today. It wasn’t that
much of a big deal what was happening on the court. I wasn’t
nervous serving it out. I played another good match. I’ve played
some good matches for the last five weeks. It was just like I
really want to go far in the tournament, win a few more
Evans was playing well coming into U.S. Open qualifying,
reaching the final at two straight minor-league Challenger events.
But that’s a long way from the main draw at Flushing Meadows.
He had to rally from a set down in his final match of qualifying
to make the field.
After all that, Evans wasn’t totally sure what day of the week
it was when he took the court against Nishikori. But he was the one
who felt more comfortable.
”He has no pressure,” Nishikori said. ”He was playing a
little aggressive, and I was kind of tight.”
Robson, the highest-ranked teenager in the women’s game, is
seeded for the first time at a Grand Slam event. The 19-year-old
got off to a shaky start Monday before beating Lourdes Dominguez
Lino 7-5, 6-0.
Asked afterward if there was anything she didn’t like about
Evans, Robson joked: ”He’s got a Jesus tattoo. I mean, if you’ve
ever spoken to him, he’s really not the most religious person. That
doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
Evans later sent this volley back: ”I’m not sure on her
hairstyle sometimes, but, hey.”
It’s easy to kid around after major wins.