Dan Evans produced a stunning performance on Wednesday in Monte Carlo to upset world #1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets (6-4 7-5). Evans played some exceptional tennis against a fairly off-color Djokovic, who was the clear favorite heading into the match. The World #1 never really got into his groove and couldn’t find enough consistency to cause Evans any real problems. Evans secured his best win to date, and became the first man to defeat Djokovic in singles in 2021.
Dan Evans Downs Novak Djokovic
Evans started the match extremely fired up, while Djokovic looked sluggish and slow to begin with. Playing some excellent attacking tennis with some beautifully deft drop shots, Evans quickly found himself up a double break.
Djokovic found a bit more rhythm at 3-0 down and managed to break back and hold serve. However, he struggled to wrestle back any real control of the match. Djokovic rarely struggles with his ever-dependable backhand, but on this occasion he made far too many errors by his standards.
Both players held serve as the set went on, leading to Evans serving for the set at 5-4. A tight game saw Evans squander two set points, before finally closing out at the third time of asking.
Djokovic started the second set more fluently, breaking in Evans’ first service game. However, he couldn’t keep up a high level to consolidate his break. Evans continued to hit some breath-taking forehand winners, mixing it up wonderfully with confident net play and more sublime drop shots.
Before too long, it was back on serve and Evans was right back in the set. Djokovic had a number of break points but was unable to capitalize, with Evans standing strong. It looked as if Evans may break again at 4-4, with Djokovic teetering at 0-30. However, Djokovic managed to keep his cool and hold serve, forcing another very tight game on Evans’ serve.
Evans once again played the big points well and leveled the set at 5-5. Djokovic knew he had to be solid here, as Evans was closing in and had the bit between his teeth. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do so. The Serb continued to make errors, and was unable to counter Evans’ brilliant tactics. Djokovic found himself 15-40 down, and while he saved one break point, he double faulted at 30-40, giving Evans the chance to serve it out.
Evans was as calm and collected as he had been all match, and he served out the match in clinical fashion. An incredible victory for the British #1, who became just the second Brit ever to defeat a World #1 on clay. This will no doubt fuel Evans with huge amounts of confidence, and it bodes well for the rest of his clay court season. He now moves into the quarterfinals where he will face David Goffin.
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