October 31, 2020
Dan Evans is in the form of his life and that’s great for British tennis.
Just imagine how deep the increasingly-popular Englishman could go at Wimbledon 2021.
Recent events suggest he could have the home crowd on the edge of their seats next summer.
Evans beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3 in Vienna.
In doing so he made his second ATP 500 semi-final of 2020.
But there are even more impressive statistics building for Evo during this trickiest of sporting years.
The Dimitrov scalp was the Solihull-based star’s eighth victory over a top-twenty opponent in 2020.
Compare that to only five in the rest of his career, and you get some sense of how it’s all coming together for Dan the Man.
But it’s the company Evans is keeping that tells the story most vividly.
In 2020 Novak Djokovic has seventeen wins over top-twenty opponents and Dominic Thiem has nine.
Then comes new superstar Stefanos Tsitsipas with eight…alongside Evans!
And that’s why British tennis fans should already be excited about what Evans could do at Wimbledon 2021.
Dan’s movement against Dimitrov was exceptional. He charged forward and dominated the net on his way to 39 winners.
So why shouldn’t the Wimbledon grass suit him more than ever?
Last year Evans reached the third round. We feel that next year he could enjoy the second week too.
For now, Evo’s thoughts remain focused on Vienna. Of his Dimitrov win, he said : ‘It feels good, I’m really happy to come through such a difficult match.
‘They’re all difficult at this stage. I’m happy to get some sleep and come back.’
Now Evans faces the surprise conqueror of Novak Djokovic, Lorenzo Sonego.
The free-flowing Italian took just 68 minutes to defeat the world number one 6-2- 6-1.
Sonego said later: ‘For sure this is the best victory of my life. Novak is the best in the world.
‘It’s unbelievable. It’s amazing. I don’t know what to say.
‘Today I played so, so good. I like this tournament.’
Maybe Novak’s heart wasn’t in it after he pretty much secured the year-end world number one spot earlier in the tournament.
Djokovic admitted: ‘I’ve done what I needed to do when I came here and I’m completely fine with today’s result.’
Even when the hint of a comeback chance opened up in the second set, Djokovic just smiled, as though the journey back was almost too long to be worth taking.
But that doesn’t detract from the quality of Sonego’s tennis or the massive challenge he will present for Evans.
Meanwhile in the other semi-final Andrey Rublev will face Kevin Anderson, after the Russian took down Thiem 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.
Thiem had a foot injury but should be fine for London. Rublev will also surely star at the big tournament in the English capital in a few days.
Evans won’t make the year-end finals back home. But he could make a massive impact at his home Grand Slam next year.
Wimbledon 2021 could definitely be Dan the Man’s year.
We hope to see you there too! It’s going to be historic and uniquely emotional. Who would miss it?