Dan Evans won his first ever ATP Tour match on clay on Monday, as he defeated Thiago Monteiro in a final set tie-break to progress to the second round of the Barcelona Open.
Evans has long had an aversion to playing on clay and has previously made a habit of avoiding playing on the surface. He has only ever entered the French Open once – losing to Gastão Elias in the first round of qualifying in 2014 – and had never previously entered the Monte Carlo Masters or the Barcelona Open.
The Brit’s elegant single-handed backhand and his tendency to slice means that his game is not ideally suited to heavy clay courts, but following his rapid surge up the ATP Tour rankings he has embarked upon his first full clay-court season, ahead of a second crack at the French Open.
And so his 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-6 (2) victory over Monteiro was something of a milestone moment in his career, especially considering he dropped the first set against the World No 80.
But after losing a nervy first-set tiebreak Evans rallied to break the Brazilian three times in the second set. He then won the first five points of the third-set tie-break to set up a second-round clash against Mischa Zverev, who defeated Andy Murray in the first round of this year’s Australian Open.
Meanwhile, fellow Briton Kyle Edmund continued his good form on the surface with a confident 6-3, 6-4 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
Edmund seized his solitary break point opportunity in the first set to nudge into the lead and one further break in the second was enough to complete victory.