Dan Evans had no regrets after losing to former champion Marin Cilic in a drawn-out battle in the third round of the US Open.
Evans had hoped to match last year’s run at Flushing Meadows when he made the last 16, but he lost on Court 17 after almost four hours 7-6 (11) 6-7 (3) 6-2, 7:5
The British number two missed three set points in the first set tiebreak but it was Cilic’s serve, including 26 aces, that ultimately proved the difference.
“I played good tennis but it’s frustrating that I played against a guy who’s very good here, he won the tournament and played like he probably was back then and he definitely served like that,” said Evans. “It’s heavyweight versus lightweight on serve.
“It was a tough match. In the fourth I just couldn’t get any further. I missed a few chances in the first game and you never know what happens when you win the first one, but I did well to get back into the match.
“I thought Marin probably played a little bit better than me. He served very well when he had to and it was difficult to apply pressure. I had a small chance, but I’m really hanging by threads.
“Too good of him, it really is. I have to keep going. I have no bad feelings about the game. My level is there, physically I was there, so it’s positive.”
The pair had met before, at the Australian Open in 2017 when Evans won in four sets and reached the fourth round of a slam for the first time.
It’s now eight years since Cilic won the title here and he’s in the final stages of his career but he’s been in fine form this season, particularly with his French Open semifinals.
The game was interrupted early on by a spectator who berated first Cilic and then, when Evans confronted him, the British player. Evans complained to the referee, which led to a “kick him out” chant from the crowd before the man left.
“He really ruined everyone’s day,” Evans said. “Obviously he probably had a little too much to drink and it was really better for everyone to stay on the pitch, there were small children around and he wasn’t using great language and gestures.”
Evans saved two set points to send the first set into a tiebreak but failed to capitalize on a 6-4 lead before hitting a double fault on his third opportunity.
Cilic, who frequently hit double digits with his repeated serve, also showed nerve but on his fifth chance he eventually secured a set that lasted an hour and 22 minutes.
Evans fought hard in the second, breaking back on Cilic when he served for it at 6-5 and then coming out on top with another tiebreak.
After Cilic dominated the third, Evans saved a brilliant match point down the line in the fourth with a backhand, but three more came in his next service game and this time there was no denying Cilic.
Evans will focus on the Davis Cup and British campaign in Glasgow later this month.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/dan-evans-british-marin-cilic-glasgow-french-b2159300.html Dan Evans: No regrets after US Open third-round loss to ex-champ Marin Cilic