NOTTINGHAM, June 15, 2018
Former British No. 2 Dan Evans is through to the semi-finals of Nottingham’s Nature Valley Open after defeating Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur 7-6(5), 6-3 in the €127,000 ATP Challenger event, while British No. 4 Katie Boulter fell to top seed Ashleigh Barty in the concurrent WTA International tournament.
28-year-old Davis Cup champion Evans saved a set point in a marathon first set that lasted just under an hour, before closing out the match in front of a packed Court 1 at the Nottingham Tennis Centre. The former world top 50 player will face Spaniard Marcel Granollers, whom he beat on the way to the 2017 Sydney final, on Saturday.
“It was difficult,” Evans said. “He played well. He was pretty loose but I thought I did a good job today. It was my toughest match so far, so I had to concentrate hard. It wasn’t easy out there as it was pretty slow.
“The crowds have been great. It’s definitely the loudest crowd I’ve heard in Britain for a long time. They’ve been really good.”
Having reached the semi-final stage at the Surbiton Trophy last week, Evans is pleased with his recent form on grass.
He added: “I’ve been working pretty hard off the court as well. I’ve done everything I can to be in this position now. You can come here and easily lose in the first round, there are some great players here. It’s been two good weeks.”
Later in the day, Ilya Ivashka defeated Briton James Ward 6-4, 6-3. The No. 4 seed from Belarus saved all six break points he faced, capitalizing on two of his own to advance in one hour and 16 minutes.
Ivashka will next take on #NextGenATP Australian Alex de Minaur. The second favourite battled past Peter Polansky of Canada 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. De Minaur converted all of his three break point chances to prevail in one hour and 26 minutes.
Boulter’s run comes to an end, Konta sets up Vekic clash
Elsewhere, 21-year-old Boulter’s first WTA quarterfinal ended in a 6-0, 6-2 defeat to Barty, who will next play World No. 18 Naomi Osaka. The No. 3 seed eased past the tournament’s No. 5 Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 6-4, 6-1 in one hour and 17 minutes.
British No. 1 Johanna Konta defeated Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia 6-4, 6-2, setting up a rematch of last year’s final in Nottingham against defending champion Donna Vekic.
Despite the windy conditions at the Nottingham Tennis Centre, the World No. 22 secured victory in 77 minutes to reach the last four of a tournament for the first time since Wimbledon in 2017.
“It was a tough match. When you play an opponent you haven’t played before, there are some things that are unpredictable. I definitely felt some of those challenges today and the conditions were also still a bit tricky. It’s not easy playing out there [in the wind] but it’s the same for everyone. Overall I’m happy with the way I kept fighting,” Konta said.
— British Tennis (@BritishTennis) 15. Juni 2018
Having lost to Vekic in last year’s final in the East Midlands, before avenging the defeat at Wimbledon 10-8 in the deciding set against the Croatian, Konta is looking forward to another test against the sixth seed on the grass on Saturday.
“We had two great battles last year and I know she plays very well on this surface,” the fourth seed said. “It will be a really tough challenge for me, but it’s a great opportunity for me to keep fighting and raising my level with each match that I play.”