Daniel Evans was played off the field by a red-hot player Thomas Paul in the pair’s quarterfinals in Montreal on Friday night. But the skilled Brit believed in his consistent game to advance into his second ATP Masters 1000 semi-final of his career with a hard-fought 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.
“The crowd, that’s what they buy their tickets for. It’s live sport,” Evans said in his post-game press conference. “You never know what’s going to happen. It was a great game, a great atmosphere. I played on the pitch before. During the day it was great, but at night there is something very special about exercising at night.”
After Paul filled in the highlight role early on with his pace and powerful ground play, Evans capitalized on the smallest opening in sets two and three to win both with a single break. The 32-year-old secured an early lead in the deciding set, then escaped decisively 15/40 to go 5-3 within a game.
Evans saw a match point beg in spectacular fashion on return and absorbed a final backhand pass from Paul on serve before completing the turnaround by expertly assisting a powerful serve in the clutch.
“I just didn’t think he could keep going like this,” Evans said of his opponent’s brilliant start. “If he did, I had to walk away and shake his hand.”
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Holding 4-3 at love in the final set, Evans rode his luck when Paul cut the tape on a forehand in mid-court – the kind of ball he feasted on for much of the two-hour and 17-minute contest. The world number 39 took matters into his own hands the rest of the way as he pushed for the key hold.
Evans saved six of eight break points in the match when he withstood 41 winners from Paul, who stunned the second seed Carlo Alcaraz On Wednesday. The American moved up three spots to 31st on the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings by reaching the quarterfinals, setting himself up for a new career high.
With wins against the fifth Andrei Rublev and 10th seed TaylorFritz In the last two rounds, Evans has reached his second Masters 1000 semifinal in as many years. He upset the then world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to reach this stage Rolex Monte Carlo Masters in 2021 and also reached back-to-back Masters 1000s doubles finals with Countryman Neal Skupsky last season (Miami, Monte Carlo).
With victory in his first ATP Head2Head meeting with Paul, Evans improved his record from 2022 to 19-17 and sealed progression to a second Tour-level semi-final of the year (Sydney). He has moved up 16 spots to 23rd in the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings this week and is also 23rd in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.
Turning the tide against the American in the second set, Evans excelled at winning points from attacking positions, as illustrated in INSIGHTS: Conversion stats from TennisViz. His 70 percent conversion rate on such points surpassed the ATP Tour average of 66 percent.
Illustration 1: Daniel Evans won 70 percent of points played in attack in the second set, beating the ATP Tour average.
“Hopefully these guys have a great match,” Evans said. “Jack is an incredible talent. He will be there. You will see him here [at the top of the game for] 10 years easy. It’s a big moment for him. I hope he goes out there enjoy it whatever happens.
“Carreno [Busta] is a great player, seasoned pro. Much underestimated. He’s a very strong opponent.”