Dan Evans overcomes illness and sends Great Britain to the ‘City Final’ United Cup

Dan Evans in the United Cup – DAN HIMBRECHTS

Great Britain advanced to the city finals of the inaugural United States Tennis Cup after Dan Evans overcame an illness and was victorious over Spain by beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the singles final.

Tim Henman continued his upbeat training on the pitch as the mixed British team kept up the momentum after defeating Australia on Friday followed by Cameron Norrie’s 4-1 victory over Spain against Rafael Nadal.

They will now face Group C winners – the United States – on Wednesday ahead of a potential semi-final and final next week.

Taylor Fritz capitalized on a dominant serve to defeat Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-4 before Madison Keys followed Fritz to extend the United States’ lead to 2-0 by beating Jule Niemeier. The match will continue on Tuesday with Jessica Pegula facing Laura Siegemund and Francis Tiafore facing Oscar Otte.

Great Britain had already beaten Australia on Thursday and Friday before leading the night against Spain 2-0 after Norrie’s big win over the reigning Australian and French Open champions Nadal. Harriet Dart had her first chance to give Great Britain an undisputed lead over former world No. 2 Paula Badosa, but after winning the first set in the 77th -6, 6-7, 1-6 in the three-hour marathon.

This gave Evans, who was battling illness, the chance to carry Great Britain and he scored a brilliant victory, winning 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 over Ramos-Vinolas – world No. 39 – after another tense and physical match.

“I don’t feel the strongest, but I’ve got a great team behind me, Tim [Henman] they push us too. It’s hard to throw in the towel when everyone is behind us,” said Evans, who celebrated the win with roars, fist pumps and high fives with the British team watching.

“We had some luck, a few withdrawals,” Evans added, “We did incredibly well on the court as well. We are proud of team spirit and working hard for each other.”

This meant mixed doubles was virtually dead, but Dart continued her impressive singles form to team up with Jonny O’Mara and defeat Jessica Bouzas Maneiro and David Vega Hernandez in a decisive “super tie-break” after they split opening two sets.

This completed a decisive victory over Spain, leaving Great Britain undisputed in Group D, and began an intriguing showdown with the United States, who have one of the strongest teams in the competition.

Last week Great Britain beat hosts Australia 3-2 after leading 3-0. Nick Kyrgios was due to play for Australia but decided to withdraw ahead of the Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne later this month.

The new mixed teams format, which is played in Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane, has proven to be hugely popular so far. Great Britain will play the City Final in Sydney at the Ken Rosewall Arena, where the semi-finals and final will also take place.

Mixed events were a popular newcomer to swimming and triathlon at the Tokyo Olympics, but today the only chance for men and women to compete together in tennis is mixed doubles at the Olympics and four Grand Slam tournaments.

Tennis previously had the Hopman Cup from 1989 to 2019, and despite being a showpiece event, it attracted a huge TV audience last year when Roger Federer and Serena Williams played each other in a mixed doubles match.

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