Monday, August 26, 2013

Dan Evans bombed in Lexington, shines in Flushing Meadows

No one is more shocked by Dan Evans' upset win over 11th-seeded Kei Nishikori than The Outer Courts. And that says a lot, because EVERYONE is shocked the British qualifier advanced to the US Open's second round. But we have history with Evans, dating all the way back to a month ago. Yeah, that far back. Let me explain:

Evans competed in the Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington, Ky -- the place I call home -- in late July. In fact, Dan Evans was in the first match I saw at this year's tournament, my first time attending the Lexington Challenger event. It was Evans versus Malik Jaziri and Jaziri won the opening round match rather convincingly in two sets. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed by Evans and never thought we'd cross paths again. But I was wrong.

The 23-year-old Evans pulled off the first major upset of this year's Open in his debut at Flushing Meadows, just days after he rallied from a set down against Adrian Menendez-Maceiras to reach the Grand Slam stage as a qualifier. Ranked 179th in the world, Evans took down Japan's top player and the No. 10 guy on the 2013 money list without giving up a set.

So who is this Evans guy?

Here's what we know...

He was once known as the "bad boy" of British tennis.

Evans was suspended by the LTA in 2008 after he was spotted partying in the wee hours of the morning prior to his boys' doubles match at Wimbledon. He was stripped of all funding and support for fourth months.

The win over Nishikori is his first victory in a Grand Slam event.

He was 0-2 prior to Monday with both losses coming at Wimbledon, in 2009 and 2011.

He clinched a comeback victory for Britain in the 2013 Davis Cup.

Evans stunned Evgeny Donskoy, ranked 245 places higher, to complete a miraculous comeback for Great Britain over Russia in the Davis Cup. He was a last minute addition to the team.

He has an Oscar Wilde quote tattooed on his left forearm.

It reads, "Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future."

He watched Billy Madison Saturday morning.

It was a great morning, he tweeted.

He'll face Bernard Tomic in the second round of the US Open.

"It will be another good match," Evans said of his next opponent. He said he prefers Tomic over Albert Ramos, who Tomic defeated on Monday in five sets.

The Outer Courts will be there for that one, although Evans would probably prefer we stay away. I wasn't much luck for him in Lexington.