Dan Evans loses by Radu Albot in Delray Beach Open final

Dan Evans falls short of maiden ATP title after defeat by Radu Albot in Delray Beach Open final

  • Radu Albot beat Dan Evans 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 after winning sudden death tiebreak 9-7
  • British No 3 missed chance to claim his first ATP title in Delray Beach Open final 
  • Evans had led the sudden death tiebreak 6-4 but was visibly very tired 
  • His progress is ahead of schedule after a drugs ban and will reach world No 105

A tiring Dan Evans fell agonisingly short in his bid to win a first career title on the main ATP Tour when three match points went begging for him in the final of the Delray Beach Open.

The 28 year-old Midlander led 6-4 in a sudden death tiebreak before losing it 9-7 to suffer a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 loss to Moldova’s Radu Albot, having had one more chance at 7-6.

At 6-5 he was in a strong position to is the rally only for the line judge to call his shot out when it had clipped the back of the baseline, causing the point to be replayed, which he subsequently lost.

Dan Evans lost 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 to Radu Albot in the Delray Beach Open final to miss a first ATP title

Dan Evans lost 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 to Radu Albot in the Delray Beach Open final to miss a first ATP title

Evans, playing his seventh match in eight days, had to reach deep within himself to force the tiebreak, having been a break down early in the third set when there was a lengthy rain delay, breaking back for 4-4 against a solid counter punching opponent.

Regardless of the acute disappointment in losing the chance of a first ATP main tour title it has been an strong start to the season for the GB number three, whose ranking will go up to 105 from 148: 

‘Weeks like this are a reward for the consistent hard work Dan has been putting in over a sustained period and it bodes well for the future, but we both know that there is plenty more to do,’ said his coach David Felgate.

Evans went on court knowing that months of consistent hard work have already brought the reward of gaining him automatic entry into the French Open. With no points coming off until May the only way is up, ranking wise.

THe British No 3 lost the sudden death tiebreaker 9-7 to the ROmanian having been 6-4 ahead

THe British No 3 lost the sudden death tiebreaker 9-7 to the ROmanian having been 6-4 ahead

There will certainly be no repeat of last summer, when he became the subject of heated debates over wildcards. 

Wimbledon and the LTA were anxious not to be seen being too generous to someone who had served a year’s ban after testing positive for his social use of cocaine.

He has benefitted from the disciplined partnership with British coach Felgate, who in the Nineties oversaw the rise of Tim Henman to the top of the game.

Henman spent a couple of days with Evans and Felgate prior to the start of this tournament as he was in Delray Beach to play the veterans event, and the former British number one was impressed not just by the standard of the Midlander’s play but his commitment.

Evans’s skill levels have never been in doubt, and he was in the top 50 when the suspension kicked in, returning ten months ago when he played the qualifying event of a Challenger event in Glasgow.

His progress is ahead of schedule. A mark of his talent is that before he beat Isner on Saturday night the giant American, a foot taller, had not had his serve broken for 77 games – the British player managed it three times.

After a gruelling spell in Florida Evans is due to play in different, desert conditions this week at the Indian Wells Challenger, where British No 1 Kyle Edmund is top seed, having accepted a wildcard for his first event since losing in the Australian Open first round. 

Albot claimed his first ATP title on what was his maiden appearance in a top level tour final

Albot claimed his first ATP title on what was his maiden appearance in a top level tour final

 

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