Hello, and welcome to Sports Mole
's coverage of the US Open
first round clash between Dan Evans
and Kei Nishikori
Your eyes are not deceiving you. Great Britain do have another male in the main draw of the US Open, and he goes by the name of 23-year-old Dan Evans.
The world number 179 has been on a real impressive run of form over the past six months, and that spell has helped Evans qualify for the main draw of a Slam. However, he has been handed a tough draw in the form of Kei Nishikori.
The Japanese number one has moved up to his highest world ranking of 11 this year, and he will go into this encounter as the huge favourite. The players have finished their preparations, and we are ready to get underway. It will be Evans to serve first.
Evans start the match perfectly with an ace down the middle, but Nishikori fires back with a booming forehand. The Brit takes the next point, but two errors hand the Japanese player a break point. However, Evans wins three straight points with some fine attacking play, and he is on the board.
Evans has started extremely well, and looks comfortable on court with the number 11 seed. He loses the game to 15, but he appears to have the game to test Nishikori.
BREAK! The first serve of Evans is going to play an important part in this match, and two well-directed deliveries have too much zip on them. However, Nishikori battles back by finding the back-corner of the court twice in succession, but Evans hits back with an ace. It's not enough to discourage Nishikori though, and he produces a super backhand winner to bring up break point, which he takes when Evans float the ball long.
Evans eases to 0-30 after two mistakes from Nishikori, before he frees up his shoulders to fire a stunning return past his opponent. Three breaks points, but Nishikori saves the first two with some aggressive play, before Evans mis-cues the ball on the third. The pair are getting involved in some quality rallies, but Nishikori's power is very under-rated, and it pulls him through the game.
Big game coming up for Evans, and he coasts into a 40-0 lead after Nishikori loses his range a little. The Japanese player takes the next two point, but Evans eventually seals his second game. That was much needed and much deserved. He doesn't look out of place against a player who is 167 places above him in the world rankings.
The pair exchange winners from the baseline, before Evans nets with a routine backhand. He makes up for his error with a winner off the same wing, and he gets to deuce after a mistake from Nishikori. He can't maintain the pressure though, and he goes wide with a forehand to concede the game.
Evans opens with a double fault, but he holds his composure well to to record four points on the spin. He's still holding his own against Nishikori, but he needs a break in the next couple of games to save the set.
BREAK! It's been a bit of a mixed bag from Nishikori. He concedes a double fault, but fires back with two unreturnable serves to move to 40-15. However, two shots into the net give Evans deuce, and some stunning hitting from the back of the court give him break point, and he gets back on level terms after Nishikori floats the ball wide.
Evans is playing some phenomenal tennis now. He lets Nishikori back in at 30-15, but a sharp backhand volley at the net sees him bring up game point. Nishikori saves the first, but he goes marginally long with a forehand and Evans is one game away from the opening set!
BREAK AND SET! A huge forehand from Evans wins him the opening point, and he moves two away from the set after a fourth double fault by Nishikori. The Japanese player steps in to put away a winner, but it's TWO SET POINTS to Evans after a backhand volley at the net...and he takes it with a super return off a second serve. Awesome tennis from the 23-year-old!
BREAK! That was an incredible turnaround from Evans, but he has to maintain this momentum because Nishikori will come out firing in this second set. The number 11 seed keeps Evans on the back foot to move 15-30 ahead, and he earns two break point with a sliced put-away at the net. That's a tame start from the Brit, and he nets to concede the break.
BREAK! Nishikori has the greater big-game experience, and he is beginning to show it now. He coasts to a 30-0 advantage, but Evans drills a forehand that the Japanese player can't handle. Evans wins the next two points, and out of nowhere, has another break point, which he takes with a powerful backhand from the back of the court. This match has been terrific.
Evans looks set to move 2-1 ahead, but three points in a row from Nishikori, the third of which clipped the net, brings it back to deuce. Evans is frustrated, and after netting, he slams his racquet to the ground. He manages to channel that frustration in the perfect way with two stunning forehands down the line, before the most delicate of backhand lobs seals a gigantic game for the Brit.
Again, Evans looks frustrated after losing the opening point, but another backhand winner evens things up. The two then serve up the point of the match, with Evans losing out, despite an incredible reach from a Nishikori lob.
Evans is playing that well that you have to wonder why it took him so long to channel the right attitude into his game. A deep backhand sets up a drive volley at the net for 30-0, and he takes the game to 15 when Nishikori struggles to handle a second serve.
Nishikori certainly has the backing of the crowd, with plenty of his natives surrounding Court 13. After netting for 15-15, he responds with an ace and a one-two off his serve to conclude a simple hold.
Evans takes the first point, but he's in trouble at 15-30 after going long. He replies with his fifth ace of the match, before getting fortunate after Nishikori misses an easy put-away. He seals the game when his opponent slice the ball long to maintain his serve in this set.
The Brit has 0-15, but he can't take the initiative on the next two points to allow Nishikori some breathing space. Two tame shots allow Nishikori to take the game.
This is a huge game for Evans. He would love the chance to force Nishikori to serve to stay in the set. He fires down an ace on the first point, and three more wonderfully executed exchanges from the Brit earn him a convincing hold to love.
BREAK AND SET! Yes, Daniel. He makes up a lot of ground to curve a forehand into the far corner of the court for 0-15, but he goes just long with an attempted forehand winner. HUGE call from the umpire, who over-rules an out call to give Evans 15-30. The Brit goes wide on the next point, but Nishikori slams the ball into the net to hand Evans a set point. How huge is this? Nishikori looks in control, but HE NETS A VOLLEY! EVANS IS TWO SETS UP!
Right everyone, take a breath. Nishikori looks pumped up to get back into this and two winners take him to 0-30. Evans halves the deficit, but Nishikori cracks a return winner for two break points. The Brit shows great heart to get back to deuce, but a double fault hands Nishikori a third opportunity, which he should take but a forehand goes millimetres wide. Looked in to me. Evans saves a fourth, but he can't convert a game point of his own. He holds firm, however, and two points in a row secure a MASSIVE hold of serve.
BREAK! Huge opportunity for Evans here. Nishikori throws in a double fault, before driving the ball into the net. Evans has THREE BREAK POINTS after Nishikori goes long, and he wastes no time in taking his chance. This is incredible.
The number 11 seed is there for the taking. Evans must strike here, and two more errors from Nishikori makes his time much easier as he moves to 40-0. The Japanese looks dejected after he drives another forehand long of the mark, and Evans has just won eight points in a row.
That was a much-needed hold from Nishikori. Evans helps him out with two unforced errors, but a fine drop-shot was impressive from the world number 12. Evans is showing so much desire in this match, and he records three points in a row to get back to deuce, but he goes for too much on a second-serve return, before slicing the ball into the net.
Evans starts well, stepping into court to put away a forehand down the line, and a simply ridiculous smash on the back foot takes him to 30-15. He throws up a double fault, before responding with a super serve down the middle. The pair then get embroiled in a lengthy rally, but Nishikori twitches first and Evans regains his three-game advantage.
Wow! What a backhand up the line from Evans to move 0-15 up. He falls to 40-15, but producing am immaculate drop-shot at the net. He can't save the game, however, and Nishikori remains in the set.
The duo trade forehand winners at the start of the game, but Evans nets twice to hand Nishikori a break point. Big moment for the 23-year-old, but he forces the Japanese player to go long. The number 11 seed then nets, and Evans moves one game away from a place in round two with a serve out wide. I will repeat - this is incredible.
BREAK AND MATCH! What must be going through the 23-year-old's head? Not much by the looks of things, as he blasts a forehand winner down the line for 0-30. Two points away, and it soon becomes one with a massive return. THREE MATCH POINTS! He only needs the one, as Nishikori double-faults. EVANS WINS!
I've watched many tennis matches over the past 10 years, but that was one of the most memorable. Talk about a break-out performance. He destroyed Nishikori with aggression and class.
Evans only had two appearances in a Grand Slam to his name before today, but now he is in the last 64 at Flushing Meadows, where he will play Albert Ramos or Bernard Tomic.
That will be all from Sports Mole from this match. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. We will return on Wednesday or Thursday with coverage of Evans's second round clash. Goodbye for now.