US Open: Dan Evans knocked out by Tommy Robredo - but he still comes out as a winner

Briton's best ever tournament of his career ended in four sets by Spaniard

Flushing Meadows

The best tournament of Dan Evans’ career is over. The world No 179’s remarkable run at the US Open ended in defeat in the third round here when he was beaten 7-6, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 by Spain’s Tommy Robredo, a former world No 5 and one of the most experienced competitors on the men’s tour.

It was a thrilling contest. If there was disappointment in defeat for Evans, the 23-year-old from Birmingham should take great pride from his performances here over the last fortnight. Having won three qualifying matches to earn a place in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament other than Wimbledon for the first time in his life, Evans beat two of the game’s most exciting young players in Kei Nishikori and Bernard Tomic before finally bowing out.

The pay cheque for $93,000 (about £60,000) that Evans will receive for his efforts will be a welcome reward for a player who has struggled to make ends meet, while the points he has earned should see him climb to around No 150 in the world rankings at the end of this tournament. That in turn should enable him to compete in bigger competitions in the future.

Evans was the last qualifier left in the tournament and was attempting to become the first to reach the fourth round here since Gilles Muller five years ago. Once again the Briton gave a performance that belied his lowly world ranking. He struck his ground strokes with power and precision, served well and showed some lovely touches, particularly at the net.

His mental strength was again particularly impressive. Throughout his run here Evans has responded well to adversity and his comeback after losing the second set to Robredo was highly commendable. The Briton went a break up in the fourth set but just fell short as Robredo showed his own fighting qualities.

The 31-year-old Spaniard is a hardened competitor who makes few mistakes and regularly forces his opponents to hit the extra ball. The winner of 12 titles on the main tour, Robredo has been enjoying a late flourish to his career after all but disappearing from the radar because of a hamstring injury that kept him out of the game for eight months.

He was ranked No 471 in the world when he returned to competition last summer but is back up to No 22 after a series of outstanding performances. In reaching the quarter-finals at this summer’s French Open he became the first man for 86 years and only the second in history to win three successive Grand Slam matches from two sets down. Robredo is now through to the fourth round here for the eighth time, though he has never gone any further.

Louis Armstrong Stadium was less than half full at the start of the match, many spectators having left at the end of John Isner’s defeat by Philipp Kohlschreiber. Evans started slowly, dropping his opening service game, but as he has done repeatedly at this tournament, quickly clawed his way back into the set.

Having levelled to 2-2, Evans had chances for a second break at both 3-3 and 5-5, but on each occasion Robredo held firm. The Spaniard also failed to take his chances, having forced a break point when he led 4-3 and two set points at 5-4.

The opening set went to a tie-break, in which Evans never led. The Briton went 2-0 down when he put what should have been a routine smash in the net. He saved two more set points after Robredo had gone 6-4 up with a winning backhand pass down the line. When the Briton served at 6-7, however, a loose forehand that flew beyond the baseline gave Robredo the set after 65 minutes.

When Evans put a volley long on break point in the opening game of the second set the tide seemed to have turned decisively. Robredo broke again to lead 4-1 and once more to take the set.

The second set had gone all too quickly, but Evans, to his great credit, refused to throw in the towel. At 4-4 in the third the Briton played a masterful game, breaking Robredo with a smart volley winner. He made no mistake at 5-4, serving out to love and completing the job in style with an ace.

When Robredo sought treatment on his left thigh before the start of the fourth set it seemed that the momentum might be swinging Evans’ way. At 2-2 the Briton broke serve and punched the air in celebration after his winning volley, only for Robredo to break  back immediately.

By now the contest had developed into a real thriller. Evans broke again to lead 4-3, but when he served for the set Robredo broke him once again. When Evans served to stay in the match at 5-6 a netted backhand gave Robredo match point, which the Spaniard converted with a volley. After three hours and 13 minutes, Evans’ US Open was finally over.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks