Daniel Evans proved the inspiration for Great Britain on Sunday when he won two matches, including a deciding doubles with Jamie Murray, for a 2-1 victory over Germany in the Group C tie at the ATP Cup.
Evans, who first beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 2 singles match, returned to the court at Qudos Bank Arena following Alexander Zverev’s 7-6(2), 6-1 win over Britain’s Cameron Norrie, to partner Murray to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Kevin Krawietz and Zverev in 78 minutes.
Great Britain will next challenge Canada on Tuesday, while Germany meets the United States. Both ties will be contested on Ken Rosewall Arena.
Evans ensured Great Britain got off to a perfect start, with the World No. 25 mixing up his tactics to keep Struff on the back foot. “It’s a good way to start 2022,” said Evans. “I’ve been practising well, but I didn’t expect to play the match this well.”
Evans completely dominated to extend his perfect record to 3-0 against Struff. The first set lasted 32 minutes, as Evans hit 12 winners and committed just four unforced errors. From 1-1 in the first set, the 31-year-old secured nine straight games to lead 4-0 in the second set. Evans played with high energy, nullified Struff’s powerful serve and got returns low over the net when the German serve-volleyed.
Zverev levelled the tie to ensure a doubles decider. The World No. 3 saved one set point in the first set to beat No. 12-ranked Briton Norrie in 87 minutes.
Having been in control on serve, Zverev dropped his first-serve percentage at 4-5 in the first set to gift Norrie a set point at 30/40. Zverev saved it with a solid first delivery and approach winner, then applied pressure to force Norrie to save a break point in the next game. The German, who beat World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2-ranked Daniil Medvedev in his final two matches of the 2021 season for the Nitto ATP Finals crown, raised his game in the tie-break that ended with a Norrie backhand into the net.
After 54 minutes of high-quality tennis, Norrie came close to breaking Zverev in the first game of the second set. But, unable to convert, Zverev responded to secure service breaks in the fourth and sixth games. He has now won 13 of his past 15 matches. “The first match of the year is never going to be the best match of you’re life,” said Zverev. “But I’m pretty happy as I did my job. We’re here to try and win.”
The ATP Cup format sees the No. 2 singles played first, followed by the No. 1 singles and doubles.