Dan Evans has made it very clear in the past he doesn’t really like the clay courts but he couldn’t have asked for a better start to his match against Kyle Edmund up 4-1 in just over 20 minutes.
One aspect of the match-up I picked up in my preview was the need for Edmund to mix up the placement of the forehand and through the opening few games we saw this issue with Kyle and he hit error after error.
During the first set Sky Sport’s commentator and former coach of Andy Murray Mark Petchy said;
“If you press, unforced errors will come”
And he was spot on!
Throughout the first five games we saw Kyle go for that cross-court into the backhand slice of Dan which when he is set in that position it isn’t going to hurt him at all.
The forehand started to work better when he mixed it up going for Evans’ forehand as well. Evans begins this rally below with the cross court forehand but when he gets the short ball this time he switches it up and look at the curve on his body position to flick this ball up the line making Evans scurry.
Evans does get it back as shown below but now Edmund can go for that forehand cross court with Evans out of position and the Brit can only find the net with the return.
Complete turnaround from Kyle from 1-4 down to 5-4 up which the majority of the momentum swing was down to a more settled rhythm from Kyle’s game but also Dan’s level had significantly dropped and seemed to panic when minutes before he was composed.
Just when a tie-break did look likely the resurgence from Kyle continued to take it 7-5 and it followed into set two as well with the forehand firing but Dan playing nowhere near as good as he did in the first five games of the match.
The saying goes “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” and for Dan his sprint seemed to be over by the 6th game. Concentration slipped and his game went from a very high level to playing some confusing tennis.
Something I picked up a lot on in the second set in particular and the backhand of the first set was the continued perseverance of the slice and played himself into trouble.
You can see the slice drops short in the court and Kyle is stepping in and this happened too much in this set the forehand down the line…
left Dan scurrying but to no advantage.
After a sloppy start from Edmund and a lack of confidence to begin with in his game and looking like he was in a rush he quickly settled to rally from 1-4 down to win 7-5 6-1 and will face Rafael Nadal next who has lost 3 times in 12 years in Monte-Carlo…