Evans Beats Felix For First ATP Tour Title At The Murray River Open

The Brit celebrates tour-level glory after losing his first two finals

The last time Daniel Evans played in an ATP Tour final, he let slip three championship points. On Sunday, the Brit made no mistakes with the Murray River Open trophy on the line.

Evans defeated #NextGenATP Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 6-3 to earn his first tour-level crown. The eighth seed triumphed on Maragaret Court Arena after one hour and 18 minutes.

In the 2019 Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com championship match, Evans was desperately close to breaking through in a two-hour, 51-minute battle against Radu Albot, which featured a rain delay of nearly an hour. But he was unable to convert his three match points to claim ATP Tour glory.

There was no question about the outcome this time. Evans peppered Auger-Aliassime with constant changes of pace using his backhand slice, eliciting an abundance of unforced errors and putting more pressure on the 20-year-old.

“I didn't play great in the first two rounds… I didn't feel great at all. Hanging in, I found my level in the end and here we are," said Evans. "I played good tennis [in] the past three matches, probably some of the best stuff I've played.”

Infosys ATP Stats - Evans vs. Auger-Aliassime

 Stat  Daniel Evans  Felix Auger-Aliassime
 First-Serve Points Won  74%  58%
 Second-Serve Points Won  72%  42%
 Break Points Converted  5/8  1/1
 Total Points Won  58%  42%

Auger-Aliassime entered the match 0-6 in tour-level finals without winning a set in any of them. When Evans broke at 2-2 in the first set with a perfect forehand passing shot up the line and roared “Come on!”, that increased the pressure on the Canadian's shoulders even more.

But the World No. 21, the highest-ranked player in the FedEx ATP Rankings without a title, never found his range from the baseline, and Evans didn’t allow him to gain any rhythm. Auger-Aliassime had the greater firepower, but his unforced errors — 32 in the match — were his undoing.

During the 5-2 changeover in the second set, as Evans prepared to serve for the title, “Sweet Caroline” blared through the stadium’s loudspeakers. As Neil Diamond sang “reaching out…”, the Brit could taste victory. But that was when he had his only hiccup of the match, double faulting to lose serve on the first break point he faced.

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Evans settled down and refocussed in the next game, breaking Auger-Aliassime for the fifth time to clinch his victory. The World No. 33 won 73 per cent of his service points and only faced one break point.

“[In] the past three matches, I really put my game on the court and was decisive in how I was going to play,” said Evans. “I made clear decisions, and [decided] to come forward and be aggressive. The match point probably summed it up, to hit a forehand down the line and finish at the net was a pretty good way to finish it.”

Last season was the best of Evans' career, as he earned eight victories against Top 20 opponents and climbed to a career-high World No. 28.

“I wanted to win [a title], but today was just another match. I approached it in that way," said Evans. "Everybody wants to win. It's a great feeling to win.”

Did You Know?
Evans did not lose a set all week to become the first Brit to win an ATP Tour title since Kyle Edmund last February at the New York Open.