Dan Evans set to crack top-30 for first time after reaching semi-finals in Dubai

Dan Evans is set to crack the top-30 for the first time after downing Russia’s Andrey Rublev to reach the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Evans impressively dispatched the world No. 14 in straight sets, winning 6-2 7-6 (11-9) in two hours and 11 minutes to book his spot in the final four of the ATP 500 event for the first time.

In doing so, he will almost certainly eclipse his career-high ranking of No. 31 and is provisionally as high as world No. 27 – although he may slip down a few places if results go against him this week.

Impressively, it’s Evans’ fifth top-20 win of 2020 and while Rublev’s ranking isn’t currently as high as David Goffin’s No. 11 at the ATP Cup, this is arguably the biggest victory of the season.

For context, only Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Gael Monfils have accrued more ranking points this season, with Rublev currently fourth in the Race To London – the rankings list that only takes into account results in a calendar year.

But the 22-year-old, who boasts a huge forehand, was flummoxed by Evans’ trickery and cut a frustrated figure throughout the match.

Rublev’s fury peaked when 5-1 down in the first set. The Russian punched his racquet strings repeatedly with raw frustration before Evans sealed the opener.

Evans failed to serve the match out when 5-4 up in the second, but recovered quickly to secure a fine win in a tense tiebreak, in which he saved two set points.

He said after the win: ‘It sounds a cliche but it’s stay in there and I knew I’d get my chances. I’m very happy how I played. Staying calm is key to everyone really. Getting the balance, you can’t be calm and dull, you’ve got to be aggressive with my feet and stay cool as well.’

‘I’m happy with the variation as well. I’m happy to come through. It probably helped me it was a little breezy.’

It has been an impressive week for British tennis, with Kyle Edmund and Heather Watson also reaching quarter-finals of the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

Edmund, who has reached a career-high No. 14 in the ATP rankings in the past, can return to the top-40 with a win over USA’s Taylor Fritz.

He impressively defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian world No. 19, to set up a meeting with Fritz – extending his winning streak to seven matches, following his second ATP title at the New York Open earlier this month.

Watson, meanwhile, is one place above American legend Venus Williams in the live rankings and she would close in on the top-60 if she defeats Christina McHale in her quarter-final. She looks well on target to achieve her main goal of the season: to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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