Can Dan Evans progress at US Open?

Sports Mole assesses whether British number three Dan Evans is capable of progressing to the latter stages of the US Open.

When Dan Evans stepped onto Court 13 at Flushing Meadows on Monday, there was little expectation that the British number three would do anything more than take a few games off number 11 seed Kei Nishikori.

Three sets and two hours later, the world number 179 stepped off court to a flurry of media activity after he produced the performance of his career to comprehensively defeat the Japanese star.

The 23-year-old's world had seemingly changed off the back of one tennis match. He was making the sporting headlines on the main news channels around the country alongside Manchester United's draw with Chelsea in the Premier League.

But while we can all be understandably encouraged by the Solihull man's success in the States, we should be careful not to over-hype a player who is competing in just his third Grand Slam tournament.

In today's game, that categorises Evans as a novice at this level of the game, and he still has plenty of work to do before he can fulfill the common expectation of him, which is a place in the world's top 100.

British qualifier Dan Evans plays a forehand on his way to a shock victory over Kei Nishikori in the first round of the US Open on August 26, 2013© Getty Images

During his match with Nishikori, Evans played with the freedom of a man who had no external pressure placed upon his shoulders. He has admitted himself that he has enjoyed walking around New York without being recognised by anyone outside of Great Britain.

But ahead of his second-round encounter with Bernard Tomic, Evans has been the subject of attention across all media platforms, and he will have more than a few hopeful eyes watching his every move later on Thursday.

Logic would suggest that because he has seen off Nishikori, he will easily progress past the world number 52 from Australia, but the 20-year-old has the game to trouble anyone on the ATP Tour.

He hasn't enjoyed the finest campaign on the American hard courts, but a fourth-round appearance at this year's Wimbledon and emerging with a tournament win on a fast surface in Sydney at the beginning of the season suggests that Tomic is more suited to handling the occasion better than Evans.

However, despite his lowly world ranking, Evans has proven in the past that he can handle pressure situations with his performances for Great Britain in the Davis Cup.

Dan Evans in action for the British Davis Cup team.© Getty Images

The right-hander stunned Russian Evgeny Donskoy earlier this year in a must-win match, while also defeating Slovakian player Martin Klizan in a deciding rubber in 2012.

Those displays are what brought him to the public's attention, but it's his showing on the ATP Tour that will ensure that his Davis Cup career will continue in a positive fashion.

A victory against Tomic would see Evans achieve his highest world ranking to date, and set up a winnable third round encounter with either Tommy Robredo or Frank Dancevic.

A last-16 appearance would see the Birmingham man catapulted up into the world's top 150, but like many of Great Britain, I am getting ahead of myself.

One remarkable victory could indeed change Evans's career for the better for the foreseeable future, but if he fails to build on his breakthrough at the US Open, he could quickly fall into the ever-growing list of Brits that failed to live up to their potential.

British qualifier Dan Evans plays a forehand on his way to a shock victory over Kei Nishikori in the first round of the US Open on August 26, 2013
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