Dan Evans guaranteed the best performance by British men at the US Open in almost half a century after coasting past Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild.
Evans’ 6-2 6-1 7-6 (5) success followed wins by compatriots Cam Norrie, Kyle Edmund and Andy Murray, and means four British men will feature in the second round for the first time since 1974.
Evans was pushed in the final set by his 20-year-old opponent, a clay court expert who nevertheless has pedigree at Flushing Meadows having won the junior singles title in 2018.
1⃣st time since 1974 there are 4⃣ British men in the @usopen 2⃣nd round
— LTA (@the_LTA) September 1, 2020
It provided a welcome test for Evans, the British number two and world number 31, who is hoping to capitalise on a number of high-profile absences to at least emulate his three previous third round appearances in the competition.
Evans had seized the initiative with an immediate double-break and looked set for the simplest of victories against an opponent who was struggling to provide any sort of resistance.
But Seyboth Wild visibly improved in the third, asking questions of Evans for the first time and prompting the often-combustible Briton to express his anger when a series of shots went astray.
Evans always held the upper hand in a tight tie-break and went on to convert his second match point opportunity to move into the second round.
Of the four Britons who succeeded in 1974 – Gerald Battrick, Roger Taylor, John Lloyd and Mark Cox – only Cox went on to progress to third round.
Evans said: “It’s only good for British tennis that we’ve all get through and apart from Cam I would have us all as favourites to win our matches.
“We’ve been pretty close to having quite a few through to the second and third rounds recently, and now that we’ve all got through it’s great.
“Personally I am happy to go through in straight sets and with a relatively short match, so that was good.”