Dan Evans on a mission to derail Carlos Alcaraz success as Brit is dreaming of upset, insisiting Carlos is only human… after the pair enjoyed a round of golf together at Wimbledon
- Carlos Alcaraz reached the US Open third round with a 6-3 6-1 7-6 (4) victory
- British No.28 Dan Evans fancies his chances against the Wimbledon champion
- Evans beat Djokovic at the 2021 Monte Carlo Masters and faces Alcaraz next
Playing a sociable nine holes together before Wimbledon revealed to Dan Evans that Carlos Alcaraz is quite normal for a tennis superstar.
That is a thought he will carry with him when they meet tonight in more serious circumstances, swapping Royal Wimbledon Golf Club for the vast Arthur Ashe Stadium in the US Open third round.
Evans is one of four British players to make it through to the middle weekend, some decent draws having been capitalised on to make it a better showing than at SW19 this summer.
Of today’s matches, Evans has by far the toughest assignment. The 33-year-old Midlander will employ the same thoughts against Alcaraz as when he has played Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the past, having beaten Djokovic at the 2021 Monte Carlo Masters.
‘They do exactly the same as all of us in the morning when they get out of bed,’ reasoned Evans.
Carlos Alcaraz reached the US Open third round with a straight sets victory over Lloyd Harris
‘I think I played a great match from the beginning until the last ball,’ Alcaraz said afterwards
The South African Harris gave Alcaraz a test in the third set but he still won 6-3 6-1 7-6
‘They are very good at the sport but they still get nervous. What is important is realising they are very good but they are still human, though maybe they deal with it a bit better on occasions.
‘I won’t think when I’m out there, ‘He’s No 1 in the world, I can’t win this match’. I have to go out there and put my game on the court.’
These days a locker-room veteran, the Brit is impressed with how his young opponent handles himself around the place.
Evans said of Alcaraz: ‘He says hello, is polite, very well-mannered, a very good ambassador for tennis. He’s not put a foot wrong on or off the court. He shows emotion at times as well, which is nice. He’s not a robot.’
Alcaraz, 20, has won all four sets in their two prior meetings, and it would represent a mighty upset if Evans’s unusual range of deft handskills derailed the Spanish steam train.
Nonetheless, there is big pressure on the defending champion this fortnight, and if he allows an opponent a foothold in a match, it may tell at some point.
Cam Norrie, Jack Draper and Katie Boulter all have more sympathetic match-ups, and each should believe a place in the last 16 beckons.
Alcaraz moved into the third round by defeating South African Lloyd Harris on Thursday
Harris was unable to live with Alcaraz during their second-round clash on Thursday evening
The defending champion stretches to reach a forehand on Arthur Ashe Stadium
Fans hoping to watch Carlos Alcaraz via Charter Spectrum on Thursday were met with an unpleasant surprise as the streaming service ESPN2 blacked out amid a Disney dispute
Boulter faced Peyton Stearns in Texas earlier this year, and the 21-year-old American prevailed in a tiebreak at the end of a three-and-a-half-hour marathon. The sliver of difference between them is emphasised by Stearns being ranked 59 and Boulter 61.
Draper is nominally lower ranked than another American opponent, Michael Mmoh, but he has shown that to be largely irrelevant this week.
You would never know how sporadic the talented 21-year-old left-hander’s form and fitness has been this season up until now. This is a great opportunity for him to burst through to a Grand Slam fourth round for the first time, having sat out Wimbledon.
Norrie has sparked back into life after his post-Wimbledon slump and is favourite to defeat Italy’s world No 61 Matteo Arnaldi. The winner will face Alcaraz or Evans.