Rothesay Open Nottingham 2022: History maker Dan Evans seals second title
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Dan Evans made history at the Rothesay Open Nottingham – defeating Jordan Thompson 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 47 minutes to win his second title at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.
Evans is the first player since 1999 to have won three ATP Challenger titles on grass – having lifted two trophies in Nottingham (2022 and 2019) and one in Surbiton (2019).
The British No.2 is now the joint record holder for men’s singles Nottingham titles, alongside fellow Brit Greg Rusedski, Ivo Karlovic, Richard Gasquet, Dudi Sela, Jonas Bjorkman and Stan Smith.
He also now holds the joint record for the most Challenger titles won by a Brit – equalling Alex Bogdanovic’s record of nine.
“It was a great match – Thommo’s had a great two weeks so I knew it was going to be a tough one and it’s never easy playing a friend either,” he said after his record setting triumph.
“It was nice to see him in the final but I couldn’t let him take back-to-backs – I’d hear too much about it!
“It was a good fight and it was a great week here – I love it here. It’s a great Challenger event here – it feels more like a tour event – and hopefully I can come back again.
“I love playing on the grass, every time I get to play on this court I appreciate it, I’ve done many hours training here and down the road in Loughborough, it’s close to home and I do feel the love from you guys (the crowd).
“The quality of players here is always very high here, it’s very tough and that’s why a lot of the guys choose to come and play here. It’s an amazing tournament and it does make me feel good to win, but I’ve got a tough match next week so it’s time to head down to London and prepare.”
In a match that had all the ingredients of a grass court classic, both players looked slightly edgy in the opening exchanges. Evans had to be on his guard to save a break point in the third game, but found his consistency to force errors out of the Aussie to stay on track.
From there it didn’t take him long to pile the pressure on last week’s Surbiton Trophy champion and on the third time of asking, he got his break after Thompson’s forehand sailed into the net. This began a run of three consecutive breaks as Evans battled to keep hold of his lead. A pivotal hold for 5-3, gave Evans the confidence to see out a hard-fought set.
It was a similar story at the start of the second set. The two went toe-to-toe on Evans’ serve in the second game of the second set, but after the Brit saved break point to eventually stay on serve. Once again three breaks of serve followed, with Thompson failing to back up either of his breaks in the match with a hold of his own.
Thompson had a chance to level the set with break point at 4-3 and it looked in the bag after Evans slipped over, but the Brit got straight back up and came up with a cool backhand winner to finish.
With history on the line Evans held his nerve to serve out the match – finishing on a wayward backhand from the Australian.