Evans reaches last 16 in Madrid

May 6, 2021
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    Dan Evans serves in his Madrid Open win against John MillmanEvans has won six matches on clay this year, having previously only won four times on the surface in his career

    British number one Dan Evans continued his good form on clay to reach the Madrid Open last 16 with a three-set win against Australia's John Millman.

    Evans, ranked at a career-high 26th, won 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-3 and faces German fifth seed Alexander Zverev next.

    Top seed Rafael Nadal swatted aside Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz, winning 6-1 6-2 in his opening match.

    In the women's event, Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty beat Czech Petra Kvitova to reach the semi-finals.

    Barty, who won 6-1 3-6 6-3 against the three-time champion, will face Spanish wildcard Paula Badosa in the last four.

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    For Evans, it was another notable win on a surface where he had struggled throughout his career until this year.

    The 30-year-old showed he had the ability to succeed on the dirt by beating world number one Novak Djokovic on his way to reaching the Monte Carlo semi-finals last month.

    He had never reached the last 16 of an ATP Masters 1,000 singles tournament before that run, but has replicated that achievement in Madrid after outplaying and outlasting the energetic Millman.

    After being edged out of the first set in the tie-break, Evans maintained his focus and used plenty of variety to fight back.

    "It feels great, when you play someone like John if you don't accept it is going to hurt a little you will struggle. It hurt at points but it was worth it," said Evans.

    On facing 2018 champion Zverev, he added: "It will suit him here because it is [a] very lively [court] but if I get into the match and stay close I have a good chance to cause him some difficulties."

    Nadal, going for a record-extending sixth title in the Spanish capital, made short work of the youngster tipped to take over his mantle as the leading force in Spanish men's tennis.

    Alcaraz was playing his idol Nadal for the first time on his 18th birthday – but was given a harsh lesson by the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

    Nadal, 34, converted five of seven break points as Alcaraz, who need some medical treatment early in the first set after stretching for a lob, lost in one hour and 17 minutes.

    Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal before their Madrid Open matchAlcaraz, who is the youngest played ranked inside the ATP's top 300, had practised with his idol on the Australian Open hard courts, but a match on Nadal's favoured clay surface proved a different propositionAround the BBC iPlayer banner

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