Evans sets up Alcaraz clash as four Brits progress

Dan Evans hits a return at the 2023 US Open
Dan Evans has bounced back at the US Open after first-round exits in the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this year
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 28 August-10 September
Coverage: Daily live text and radio commentaries across the BBC Sport website, app, BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Sports Extra

Dan Evans set up a US Open meeting with Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz on a day where four Britons reached the third round of the singles in New York.

Evans, 33, fought back to beat Dutch opponent Botic van de Zandschulp in a 1-6 6-1 6-3 6-3 victory.

Evans followed Katie Boulter, Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie in recording wins on another action-packed day for the British contingent.

But Andy Murray and Jodie Burrage were eliminated earlier on Thursday.

Boulter, who is Britain’s top women’s player, maintained confidence and composure to fight back against China’s Wang Yafan in a 5-7 6-1 6-4 win.

Draper put his injury problems behind him with a statement 6-2 6-4 7-5 victory over Polish 17th seed Hubert Hurkacz, while Norrie won 7-5 6-4 6-4 against Taiwanese qualifier Hsu Yu-hsiou.

Former world number one Murray lost 6-3 6-4 6-1 to 19th seed Grigor Dimitrov, while Burrage – who was in the main draw at Flushing Meadows for the first time – was beaten 6-3 6-2 by Belarusian world number two Aryna Sabalenka.

Evans was the final British player in action and rounded off another successful day for the nation as he reached the last 32 for the sixth time in seven appearances at Flushing Meadows.

It has been a strange season for Evans, who had a dearth of wins either side of a surprise title triumph in Washington last month.

Against Van de Zandschulp, he struggled on serve and returned poorly in the first set before considerably improving in each department as the match wore on.

“It took a bit of time to get myself in the match and I played pretty sensible tennis,” said Evans.

“I wouldn’t say it was my best match level-wise but I did what I had to do”.

Boulter proud after ‘digging deep’ to reach third round

Katie Boulter celebrates at the US Open

Reaching the US Open third round for the first time is the latest success for 27-year-old Boulter in a promising season.

It has taken her time to rebuild confidence and regain her ranking since dropping out of the world’s top 100 as a result of a back injury which derailed her career in 2019.

But she has climbed to a career-high ranking this year on the back of winning her first WTA title in Nottingham and reaching the Wimbledon third round.

Now she has matched her Wimbledon performance at the hard-court Grand Slam in New York, having never previously won a main-draw match there.

“I’m super happy, I’m really proud of myself. I had to dig really deep,” world number 61 Boulter said.

“I had to battle and go for it at the same time. Tactically, I was trying to be very aggressive, I got a bit tight in the first set and managed to loosen up in the second.

“I found ways to win points and it made it a little bit easier for me.”

Boulter’s win set up a meeting with American world number 59 Peyton Stearns on Saturday.

Impressive Draper puts injuries ‘out of his mind’

Jack Draper celebrates against Hubert Hurkacz
Jack Draper has reached the US Open third round for the second successive year

With his easy power from the baseline, 21-year-old Draper is a hugely exciting talent but his progress has continued to be stalled by a series of injuries.

A small muscle tear in his shoulder ruled him out of Wimbledon and, after a similar problem at the recent Winston-Salem Open, feared it could stop him playing at Flushing Meadows.

But after what he described as a “mentally-challenging” year, Draper is trying to put the problem “out of his mind” in New York.

He responded with another strong performance against Hurkacz, putting plenty of returns into play and drawing errors from his opponent.

Draper broke Hurkacz’s usually-reliable serve twice in the first set, doing the same in the second as it became increasingly apparent the Pole was struggling physically.

Slumped on his chair during a changeover in the third set, Hurkacz called to see the doctor and it looked as though he might have to retire.

The former Wimbledon semi-finalist gamely battled on, playing what Draper said was “some of his best tennis”, and the British number five focused purely on his own side of the court to seal his progress.

Draper will play American wildcard Michael Mmoh, whose win ended the career of the retiring John Isner, in the third round.

Norrie wins big points to cruise through

Norrie started slowly against world number 237 Hsu, who failed to convert four set points when 5-4 up in the opening set.

The British men’s number one recovered, winning six games on the bounce to take the first set and grab an early break in the second.

The 28-year-old never looked back, edging the last two sets to set up a third-round meeting with Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi.

“Honestly, he should have won that first set but I was able to take the momentum into the second set,” Norrie told court 11.

“Towards the end it was quite difficult with the sun coming down. I was really happy with how I played the big points and I am happy to be through.”

Norrie saved 15 of Hsu’s break points and converted six of his 13 as his experience shone. The Briton is into the last 32 at Flushing Meadows for the third time, having achieved his best run by reaching the fourth round last year.

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