Britain’s Dan Evans upset sixth seed Andrey Rublev 6-2, 7-6 (11/9) on Thursday to reach the fourth ATP semi-final of his career with victory at the Dubai Championships.
World No 37 Evans said the thought of playing another set after more than two hours was just too much to consider and worked hard to wrap up victory in straight sets. “It was tough, I just hung in at the end and got through,” unseeded Evans said.
“But I just didn’t fancy playing another set; I think that’s what got me through.”
The 29-year-old, whose previous last four appearances came in Zagreb in 2014, Sydney in 2017 and Delray Beach a year ago, needed nearly two and a quarter hours to advance.
He now awaits a Friday opponent as second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas plays Jan-Lennard Struff. “Semi-finals in any tournament on the ATP Tour is great,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who it’s [semi-finals] against. Everyone is so good here.”
Evans faced constant pressure from the Russian who started this season with an 11-match win streak, lifting back-to-back trophies in Doha and Adelaide. Evans needed to battle to earn the opening set, finally taking it after a final game in which he saved five break points before winning on his third set point.
The second set was equally intense. Evans was broken while serving for victory leading a set and 5-4, with Rublev taking it into a tiebreaker. Evans missed on his first two match point chances in the decider before his opponent sent a return over the baseline to end it.
The victory was the second tight contest in a row for Evans, who saved three match points in the previous round against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Evans was competing in a third quarter-final of 2020 after Adelaide – where he lost to Rublev, the eventual champion – and Rotterdam.