US Open: Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans reach third round in New York

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Eighteen months ago, world number nine Cameron Norrie was ranked outside the top 50
Venue: Flushing Meadows, NY Appointment: August 29-September 11
Cover: Daily radio commentary on BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app, with a selection of live text commentary and match reports on the website and app

Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans have assured there will be four British men in the last 32 of the US Open for the first time with confident wins in New York.

Britain’s number two Evans, seeded 20th, won 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4 over Australian James Duckworth at Flushing Meadows.

Norrie, the country’s best player, joined him with a 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win over Portugal’s Joao Sousa.

Former world number one Andy Murray and rising star Jack Draper won their second-round matches on Wednesday.

Seventh-seeded Norrie, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in July, followed Evans to the same court on Thursday and beat Sousa to tie a career-best run at the final major tournament of the season.

“I think it’s very cool to have four of us, and especially that we all support each other. It’s great,” Norrie said.

“I don’t see why we can’t continue.”

Full of effort and stamina as usual, 27-year-old Norrie didn’t play at his peak but still had enough quality to crush Sousa, 59th in the standings.

After the pair traded breaks early in the match, Norrie took over his opponent’s serve late in the first set and went further with just one break in the third game of the second.

From then on, especially with the 33-year-old Sousa struggling with his shoulder, Norrie was expected to take the win.

There was a reality check when he had to see a break point in game six but kept digging and took the tie-break victory.

“I thought I didn’t start so well. I was quite nervous in the game, quite tight,” Norrie said.

“I managed to play well in the big spots throughout the game. I felt like at the end of the sets I really raised my level.”

Norrie continues to face Denmark’s Holger Rune, who was knocked out of the third round when American John Isner retired with a broken wrist.

Evans having fun in New York

Dan Evans celebrates his victory over James Duckworth at the US Open
Dan Evans, who is one spot off his career ranking of 22nd in the world, has reached the third round of the US Open five times.

Evans could be heading into the later years of his career – he says he’s not even thinking about retirement yet – but he’s enjoying some of his best runs at the biggest events.

The world number 23 has shown a fondness for the North American hard courts, feeling more relaxed after “not particularly enjoying” the heightened attention around Wimbledon.

A run to the semifinals in Montreal – the second time he reached the last four in a Masters event – was good preparation for the US Open.

Last year he reached the fourth round in New York, equaling his career-best Grand Slam run in the round of 16 at the 2017 Australian Open.

Now he is one more win away from equaling that mark again but will now face a tough test against Croatian 15th seed Marin Cilic, the 2014 champion here.

Evans was dominant in the opening two sets against Duckworth, only to give up the third set after losing the first break point the Australian had created in the match.

Suddenly, the momentum seemed to swing towards 30-year-old Duckworth. He broke for 2-0 and led 3-1 in the fourth set before Evans battled to turn the set in his favor and clinch victory with a stunning backhand winner.

Fab Four create British history

It is only the second time in the Open era that four British men have reached the last 32 at a Grand Slam event, following the progress of Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski, Mark Petchey and Andrew Richardson to the third round of Wimbledon in 1997.

Earlier this week, Draper, 20, said he felt Britain was ‘more respected’ for the current generation of ‘great’ players, although Evans, 32, was not so sure.

Evans has criticized the nation’s player development in the past and, speaking ahead of Thursday’s game, worried he was getting too carried away for the future.

Other than Draper, Britain have no male players under 21 ranked in the world’s top 400. On the women’s side, 19-year-old Emma Raducanu is the only player of the same age group ranked in the top 200.

“After Jack, what is there? Nothing. These are the facts. There is a gaping hole after Jack,” said Evans, who will next face 2014 champion Marin Cilic.

“[British men’s tennis] is in a good position, I’m not saying it’s not, but we need to do more.”

Britain have a strong men’s squad for next month’s Davis Cup Final group stage in Glasgow, with Draper missing out on initial selection after Norrie, Evans, Murray and world number one in doubles Joe Salisbury were choose.

Another player will be added.

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