Evans and Norrie lead British charge in Indian Wells

Evans and Norrie lead British charge in Indian Wells

Emma Raducanu’s visit to Indian Wells may have been brief but Britain has
plenty of interest in the men’s draw, with Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie both
reaching the third round on Saturday; Andy Murray is back in action against Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday

Last Updated: 10/10/21 10:04am

Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie both reached the third round of Indian Wells on Saturday Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie both reached the third round of Indian Wells on Saturday

Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie both reached the third round of Indian Wells on Saturday

Dan Evans defeated Kei Nishikori for the first time in eight years, while Cameron Norrie came through against Tennys Sandgren to reach the third round in Indian Wells.

British No 1 Evans stands on the verge of breaking into the top 20 for the first time at the age of 31, fighting back
from a set down against Nishikori to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Norrie arrived in the Californian desert on the back of a fifth final appearance of the season in San Diego, and he made it through with a 6-4 5-7 6-0 victory over American Sandgren.

Nishikori had won three of their four previous meetings, with Evans’ only success coming in his breakthrough Grand Slam run at the US Open in 2013.

The Japanese player is currently ranked down at 53 but he remains a sweet ball-striker and smooth mover, and he got the better of three breaks of serve to take the opening set.

But Evans, who reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the second time in New York last month, got his reward for chipping away at the Nishikori serve in the second set with a break in the sixth game.

Both men received treatment to their feet during the match, and Nishikori appeared to be in the ascendancy at the start of the decider, but Evans withstood the pressure and moved ahead in the seventh game before saving two break points to clinch victory after nearly three hours in intense heat.

“The heart sinks a bit when I see Kei’s name waiting to come through,” said Evans with a smile. “The conditions don’t really bother me. I quite like it, but it was a tough draw.

“It was satisfying how I dealt with a bit of adversity after the first set and missed a few chances to get up, so it was nice to come through in a good, tough match.”

Evans, who revealed he is having to deal with an ongoing toe problem, will next meet 11th seed Diego Schwartzman.

Norrie appeared to be cruising at 5-1 in the opening set against Sandgren and with three set points on his opponent’s serve.

The American was hobbling around the court but Norrie had to dig deep to prevent Sandgren drawing level in the opening set and then failed to capitalise on a lead in the second as he was pushed to a decider.

But the British No 2, who is at a career-high of 26 in the rankings, got the job done in the end, racing through the third set to set up a meeting with 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Norrie admitted it was a strange match, saying on Amazon Prime Video: “I was up 5-1, think it was 0-40, and he managed to look like he wasn’t so interested and then he was interested.

“I had a lot of chances in the second and then he came at me again. It’s good to get the first match under the belt and then I played pretty solid in the third set.

“Definitely a lot of things to work on. I don’t think I did much well today apart from fighting for every point.”

He will take on Spaniard and 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the last 16 while there were also wins for Hubert Hurkacz, Reilly Opelka, Grigor Dimitrov, Lloyd Harris and Frances Tiafoe, who knocked out countryman Sebastian Korda.

US Open champion Daniil Medvedev made light work of Mackenzie McDonald to book his place in the third round.

The No 1 seed beat the American in one hour and 13 minutes, hitting 22 winners in a 6-4 6-2 victory to set up a last-32 meeting with Filip Krajinovic, who knocked out the Russian during his last appearance at the tournament back in 2019.

World No 5 Andrey Rublev joined him in the next round with a routine win over Carlos Taberner and it was a similar story for sixth seed Casper Ruud after he got the better of Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets.

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