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Daniel Evans saves all four break points he faces to beat Kevin Anderson on Wednesday in San Diego.

Evans Continues Top 20 Pursuit In San Diego

Evans will next play fellow Briton Norrie

Daniel Evans is at a career-high No. 22 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, and he showed his confidence on Wednesday at the San Diego Open.

The eighth seed saved all four break points and won a 24-point tie-break in the first set to beat two-time major finalist Kevin Anderson 7-6(11), 7-5 after two hours and 19 minutes. The 31-year-old will next play fellow Briton Cameron Norrie.

"It was a tough tie-break, I think [I was] a little fortunate to come through that one and the first set," Evans said. "But I played a good, solid second set and hung in pretty well. I was pretty happy with that."

In their only previous ATP Head2Head clash seven years ago, Anderson beat Evans for the loss of just five games at The Queen's Club on grass. This time, Evans flipped the script by playing steadier tennis in the high-pressure moments to advance.

Former World No. 5 Anderson, a lucky loser in San Diego, increased his aggression at the end of the second set to try to find a breakthrough on Evans' serve. But the Briton battled out of trouble and broke in the final game when the South African missed a backhand long.

Evans is pursuing his second ATP Tour title this week. In January, he claimed his maiden tour-level crown by winning the Murray River Open in Melbourne.

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Hubert Hurkacz boosted his chances of a maiden Nitto ATP Finals berth following a straight-sets triumph over Australian Alex Bolt at the San Diego Open on Wednesday. The Pole made a seamless switch to the outdoor hard courts, having swept the singles and doubles trophies indoors in Metz at the weekend. The fifth seed’s 7-6(2), 6-1 first-round win set a clash with Aslan Karatsev for a place in the quarter-finals.

“The first set was quite flawless and I started strong the second set and from then I think I controlled the match, so it was good,” Hurkacz said. “I came here a few days ago, so trying to build up the momentum. We’ll see how it goes. I’m happy with the win.” 

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Hurkacz climbed one spot above Casper Ruud into ninth in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin as a result of his fourth singles title of the season in France and could shore up his chances with a deep run in San Diego. He dropped just three points on his first serve, won 70 per cent on his second serve and never faced a break point.

“It’s a nine-hour time difference so it’s not like you can change it in two days, but I’ve played a lot of outdoor tournaments this year, so I’ll try to recover as much as I can and get ready to play,” the Miami Open champion said. “I didn’t win a title for a while, so I’m happy to catch one finally in Europe. That means a lot, and not only in the States, so that’s good for me.”

Bolt had taken down former No. 5 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Kevin Anderson, in the final round of qualifying and showed firm resistance in the opening set as he fended off all six break points. But an error-riddled tie-break surrendered the advantage and from there, it was all Hurkacz.

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