Daniel Evans has been one of the stories of Flushing Meadows so far and not just on these shores.
An ultra-impressive straight sets win over world number 11 Kei Nishikori raised eyebrows in the locker room but those who thought it was a freak result were forced to re- consider following the British number two’s come-from-behind success over the highly touted Bernard Tomic.
Ranked 179 on the tour, Evans had no right on paper to beat either man, but recent examination of the Birmingham player makes these performances less surprising.
The 23-year-old has always been regarded as one of the nation’s top talents but lack of application both with mind and body was putting that ability at risk.
His decision to tackle the US hard-court swing properly – albeit on the challenger circuit – before qualifying began in New York – has paid serious dividends.
Evans won eight matches en route to finals in Vancouver and Aptos on the ATP second tier and that renewed confidence afforded him the momentum needed to negotiate three treacherous qualifiers – where he had to come through two deciding sets – to take his place in the main draw.
The fact he kept his nerve at the crucial moments shows the positive mindset Evans is enjoying, allowing his game to flourish rather than be sabotaged by any mental weaknesses like it has in the past.
There is of course a danger of overestimating his two wins. Both Nishikori and Tomic were admittedly under-par, but the fact that Evans never let them find their games says a lot about the health of his game and the winning rhythm he has found whilst across the pond.
He has been rewarded with arguably his easiest task yet.
Tommy Robredo usually reserves his best efforts for the clay as shown with a run to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and titles in Casablanca and Umag this season.
Whereas Evans makes his first appearance at the US Open, the Spaniard is a veteran of the tournament having played here a dozen times already.
However, from all his visits Robredo’s best finish is the round-of-16, further evidence that if Evans’ is to continue gate-crashing the big guns’ party he is on the right surface to do it on.
It may be that a third upset and a sixth win of the tournament is a case of one too many for Evans, however, there is nothing to suggest that he will get steamrolled now.
Both players have had relatively easy passages to this meeting, but all the ingredients suggest there will be at least four sets here.
If three of them are closely contested then odds of 10/11 that the game will contain more than 37.5 games looks like excellent value.
There is every chance the game will contain at least one tie-break and with neither player renowned these days for throwing sets away when seemingly gone, it would be surprising to see many that did not contain at least nine games each.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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