It’s no secret that the Brits love their tennis. When Andy Murray, the most accomplished British player in the Open Era, plays a match on home soil, they pack the stadium.
That wasn’t the case on Saturday when the two-time Wimbledon champion and Dan Evans took to the court in the first semifinal of the Battle of the Brits at the Lawn Tennis Association’s National Tennis Centre in London. Thanks to the strict COVID-19 protocols that the tournament implemented, the event is being contested with no fans. But that didn’t stop the top British players from giving it their all, with Evans coming from behind to score a win, 1-6, 6-3 [10-8].
“In the end it came down to the big points,” Evans said after the match. "I got a little lucky today but I'm just happy to come through."
It was Murray who came out swinging, giving away just one game to take the first set.
"He did a lot good in the first set,” Evans acknowledged.
The world No. 28, who had gone undefeated in his three previous matches, mounted his comeback in the second set to go up a break. Having missed an opportunity to convert set points in the ninth game, Evans was able close out the set to level the match.
Having trailed Murray early in the match tiebreaker, Evans turned things around to punch his ticket to the final. It was the 30-year-old’s first-ever match against the former world No. 1.
"I was surprised how well he was executing,” Evans said. “I wasn't too down going to the chair after the first set, I just needed to change a few things. He was playing big tennis on the break points. I stuck with it. You always know with Andy he's going to come out with top tennis. I hung in there and that's how it goes sometimes."
In the other semifinal, Kyle Edmund squeaked past Cameron Norrie, 6-7 (3), 6-4 [10-8], to set up a final showdown with Evans.
Match point—Edmund tops Norrie:
On the doubles front, Jamie Murray—the architect of the Battle of the Brits—and Neal Skupski took out Evans and Lloyd Glasspool, 0-6, 6-2 [10-6], to claim the title.
Match point—Murray and Skupski win the doubles crown: