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Dan Evans continues excellent record at US Open as Britain’s No. 2 overtakes James Duckworth

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Then the guy! Evans and Cameron Norrie win as GB’s Fab Four reach third round… with Evans setting up a clash against former champion Marin Cilic after easing James Duckworth

  • Dan Evans defeated James Duckworth to reach the third round for the fifth time
  • The UK No. 2 has failed to make the last 32 at the US Open just once
  • He now faces former champion Marin Cilic for a place in the last 16
  • It’s the first time ever that four British men have made it to the 3rd round of the US Open

British tennis may celebrate a Fab Four in the men’s top 50, and last night the same quartet reached the third round of the US Open in unison last night.

Dan Evans marched through to the last 32 to join Andy Murray, Jack Draper and GB No 1 Cam Norrie, who last night defeated Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 to go on to play Norway’s Holger Rune.

Evans suppressed a comeback from Australian James Duckworth to maintain his stellar record at Flushing Meadows with a 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win.

It is the fifth time in eight years that the 32-year-old Midlander has reached this stage or better in New York, and he now meets 2014 champion Marin Cilic.

Dan Evans defeated James Duckworth to reach the third round at the US Open for the fifth time

Overnight, the precocious Draper had cemented his position among the top 50 players in the world. Tennis may not be the new rock and roll, but it’s the first time since the rankings began in 1973 that a male British quartet has achieved that status all at once.

Should Kyle Edmund come close to his best level after a lengthy absence from injury, there is even the intoxicating prospect that five will reach that target in the near future.

Evans has been an elite-level fixture since before the pandemic, although it is a source of acute frustration for him that he has never enjoyed a post-fourth round run of a Grand Slam.

Last night he drove against Duckworth before becoming too passive in the third set and going down 3-1 in the fourth. Then came an upswing and at match point he made the shot of the day with a blinding backhand pass down the line that belongs on the reel of his career highlights.

With the four-team GB Davis Cup group stage in Glasgow in a fortnight just around the corner, captain Leon Smith has some rare dilemmas when it comes to choosing the final five-man squad.

British No. 2 now faces former champions Marin Cilic for a place in the last 16

British No. 2 now faces former champions Marin Cilic for a place in the last 16

In addition to the singles, there are three top doubles experts in Joe Salisbury, Neal Skupski and Jamie Murray. Draper was not named in the first four, but changes were allowed.

“There are seven guys, two people are locked out, and it’s going to be hard, but that’s why Leon gets the big bucks,” Evans said with a smile.

‘There has to be room for a doppelgänger or two doppelgangers, and who do you leave out? It would be a brave man to leave Andy Murray behind in Glasgow. Everyone is in good shape. If I were left out, I would find it difficult.

“I just hope we don’t make it too complicated, and just put the best team on the field and see who can win.” While Draper faces Karen Khachanov tonight, Murray has the juiciest of the third rounds against last year’s Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini at 5pm UK time.

Andy Murray's third round test is a meeting with former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini

Andy Murray’s third round test is a meeting with former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini

The Scot’s many physical problems are well documented and the Italian can empathize after a season of setbacks.

After recovering from a hand injury that destroyed his swing on the clay, Berrettini was in imperious form on the grass before going down with Covid on the eve of Wimbledon. These are relatively minor problems compared to the ones Murray has overcome and Berrettini is in awe of his resilience.

“He had a crazy hip operation. Everyone saw that it is not easy to come back, especially when he was number 1 in the world,” said the Italian.

“Mentally it must have been very hard, but it inspires the will he has, the love he has for this sport. I’ve always admired that.’

That match will pit Berrettini’s lightning strike against Murray’s precision returning, who continues to threaten to get back into shape before slipping.

A win and a through to the fourth round would mark a breakthrough for the 35-year-old, who is trying to reach the last 16 at a Grand Slam for the first time since his hip problems began in the summer of 2017.

Cameron Norrie defeated Portugal's Joao Sousa to reach the third round of the US Open

Cameron Norrie defeated Portugal’s Joao Sousa to reach the third round of the US Open

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