Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans were forced to fly the flag for Great Britain at the US Open after losing to Andy Murray and Jack Draper’s untimely injury.
Murray lost to 13th seeded Matteo Berrettini 6-4 6-4 6-7(1) 6-3 while Draper suffered a hamstring problem in the third set of his third-round contest with Karen Khachanov and the plug after down drew 6 -3 4-6 6-5.
Britain had four men in the third round for the first time in the Open era at Flushing Meadows and it will now be up to Norrie and Evans to try to go further on Saturday.
The seventh Norrie takes on young Dane Holger Rune, who is looking to reach the fourth round for the first time in New York, while Evans can repeat his run from 12 months ago if he can beat former champion Marin Cilic.
Norrie and 19-year-old Rune have already met twice this season, with the British no1 winning in close duels on both occasions.
“He’s just a very competitive kid,” said Norrie, who admitted he was nervous about his second-round win over Joao Sousa.
“Just watching him train, seeing his determination, seeing his focus, he really wants to be a top player. He’s out there training and putting in hours. He’s very talented.
“Every time I’ve played against him, it’s been a fight. I think he really wants to hit me. I have to improve and I won’t have a chance to be a little bit nervous and a little bit tense.”
Evans enters his competition with 2014 champion Cilic as a slight underdog but can be confident he has won their only previous meeting, albeit five years ago at the Australian Open.
Murray had mixed feelings after his defeat as he failed to make the fourth round of a slam for the first time since his hip problems began in 2017.
The Scot said: “I’m surprised I can still go up against lads who are at the top of the game.
“In games like this I’m really proud that I’ve worked my way into a position where I’m able to do that. I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get over the line today.
“But I’m reminded, ‘This is the first time you’ve done the third round here since 2016.’ It’s been a difficult six years for me. It was really hard. I hope to go further in the future but when I think about it, I did everything right.”
Draper appeared well placed to follow up his brilliant win over Felix Auger-Aliassime with another notable win but began struggling physically after a breakup in the third set and, worried about making the problem worse, opted for a handshake .
But he’s leaving New York knowing he’ll be a top-50 player by the end of the tournament and more confident than ever about his career.
The 20-year-old said: “I know the only way to do that is to keep your head up and stay positive, keep your shoulders back and just keep moving. There’s a lot worse in the world than injuring myself at the age of 20 in the third round of the US Open.
“I think the exciting thing is that I still have such a long way to go, I can improve so much. My game is probably at 60 percent of my capacity. I honestly believe so. I think I’m ready to do it, but it’s just going to take time.”
In doubles, top seed and defending champions Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram went into the third round easily, but Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, last year’s runners-up who retired, were disappointed.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/dan-evans-cameron-norrie-andy-murray-jack-draper-marin-cilic-b2158829.html Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans tune in in NY, but Andy Murray and Jack Draper are out