By Will Jennings
Delighted Dan Cox gave the travelling Lincoln contingent an afternoon to savour with an ‘incredible’ win against Federico Gaio at the LTA’s Rothesay Open Nottingham.
Cox, who benefits from the LTA Top 25 programme which allows access to the NTC courts and facilities for the top 25 ranked British male and female players on ATP/WTA rankings and can also benefit from the LTA’s domestic competition calendar of Pro and Prize money tournaments and a Tournament Bonus Scheme, battled from behind to beat the Italian 2-6 6-4 6-3 and power into the last 16.
Cox’s neighbours made the short trip to the East Midlands to support and the former world No.206 revelled in delivering when the pressure was on to continue his strong run from qualifying.
The 31-year-old said: “It’s incredible, really.
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“It was great. I had people come over from Lincoln to watch and I spotted my neighbours at the beginning, so I knew I couldn’t let the street down.
“It was nice to play in front of the British crowd again.
“I wasn’t expecting that result today - I knew I could win, but to come back from a set down. I found it really tough against him - he’s a good grass court player.
“I’ve known him growing up from juniors and I totally forgot how good he was on grass.
“He hits the ball quite flat with lots of slice on the backhand - it was difficult at the beginning but I thought I handled it well.”
Cox, who reached the main draw at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, navigated his way through qualifying at the Midlands showpiece to book a clash against Gaio on Tuesday.
He slipped to a 6-2 defeat in the first set but turned the tables to level with a composed 6-4 triumph in the second.
And he continued that momentum in the decider to clinch a 6-3 victory and keep his Nottingham dream alive.
Experienced Cox, who will now face eighth seed Marc-Andrea Huesler for a place in the quarter-finals, added: “There’s periods where I feel like I’ve been playing better than ever before but not at the right tournaments.
“I know I’ve got the level still there, but if my body can hold up I don’t see the reason why I can’t play these events week in week out.”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website.