Evans to face Federer next as impressive Konta also reaches third round

Dan Evans

US Open 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep
Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

Dan Evans set up another Grand Slam meeting with Roger Federer by beating French 25th seed Lucas Pouille in the US Open second round in New York.

The British men’s number two, 29, dug deep to overcome an out-of-sorts Pouille in a 6-4 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 win.

Meanwhile, Johanna Konta made an impressive statement as she swatted aside unseeded Russian Margarita Gasparyan in 54 minutes.

The British number one, 28, hit 24 winners in an emphatic 6-1 6-0 victory.

Konta will play China’s 33rd seed Zhang Shuai in the third round on Friday.

Evans said he has the belief he can push five-time US Open champion Federer, who beat him at Wimbledon in 2016 and at the Australian Open earlier this year.

“I hope to enjoy the occasion and not just be part of the show,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live of a match that will also be played on Friday.

“I know Roger’s game pretty well, but have to put to the side that I’m playing him. It’s the third round of a major and I have the chance to reach the fourth round – I’m confident I can do it.”

Evans to face ‘mirror image’ Federer again

Evans, now 58th in the world after being unranked last year, impressively punished Pouille in the opening two sets, then recovered well after losing his way in the third.

Evans was praised by Federer after the Briton pushed him in a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 second-round defeat in Melbourne in January and has another opportunity to test him further in New York.

The 38-year-old said it was like “playing in the mirror a little bit” and then went on to invite Evans to practise with him in Switzerland before the French Open.

Federer has made slow starts in his opening wins over Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal and Damir Dzumhur, looking a shadow of his usual self in poor first sets.

He has the benefit of an extra day off after playing his second-round victory under the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof on Wednesday, while Evans’ match against Pouille was pushed back to Thursday because of the rain which cancelled play on the outer courts.

There was little danger of more weather disruption as the sunshine returned to New York, with Evans using the favourable conditions at a sun-baked Flushing Meadows to his advantage.

With plenty of British backing on a packed court 12, Evans edged an entertaining first set, in which both players pushed the other on their service games, by taking his third set point.

Pouille reached the Australian Open semi-finals in January, albeit being outclassed at that stage by eventual champion Novak Djokovic, but struggled to land a first serve as signs of his streakiness appeared.

Evans looked to be cruising towards victory when he went an early break up on the third, only to plant a volley for a 5-2 lead into the net, which looked like it could prove costly.

That error allowed Pouille to fight back and force a fourth set after the Frenchman finally found his service game to win a tie-break which Evans had led 3-0.

Evans put that disappointment behind him by breaking in the first game of the fourth and, after swapping breaks again, took his second match point to win in three hours and 10 minutes.

The Briton said: “It was a difficult match. I knew there would be tough points in the match. I came through pretty well in the end.”

Konta races through second-fastest match of tournament so far

Johanna Konta<!–

Like Evans, Konta’s victory was worth the long wait for the Briton after the rain chaos, although the three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist did actually make it on to court on Wednesday before going back off again without a ball being hit.

Konta said it meant she had a near 11-hour day at Flushing Meadows after arriving at 8:30am and not leaving until about 7pm once the day’s play had been cancelled.

Perhaps that motivated the Briton to race through the match once she gained the advantage against the 24-year-old Russian, who is ranked 61st after being 370th at this stage last year.

Gasparyan won the first game on her serve before Konta rattled off the next 12 games to win the second quickest completed match at the tournament.

“On-court time is a little bit irrelevant because you either come through quickly or you come through in three sets in three hours. Either way you’re pleased to come through,” Konta said.

“Obviously it’s good not to spend a long time out there if you’ve got another match to prepare for tomorrow. However, I don’t think it’s a deciding factor.

“I think overall I’m just pleased with how I was able to play.”

Konta will bid to equal her best performance of reaching the fourth round in New York when she faces 30-year-old Zhang.

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