Dan Evans is through to the second round of the Madrid Open with a gritty 7-6(6), 6-7(7), 6-2 victory over Jeremy Chardy.
Evans, who reached the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters last month, held three match points in the second set, but could not make them count.
The world number 26 broke Chardy twice in the third before winning the contest with an ace after two hours and 46 minutes of gruelling action.
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The British number one will face Hubert Hurkacz or John Millman in the second round.
Evans advances in Madrid
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“It was a good match,” Evans told Prime Video on-court afterwards.
“I felt a little uncomfortable on return but I thought I did a good job on serve so happy to be through and the first round is very tough. Happy to be through and hopefully return a bit better the next match.
“I’ve found a medium between being aggressive and not standing too far back. I’m moving a little better on the clay and I’ve found I can win matches either standing further in or further back as well. I’m playing drop shots a bit more and it’s definitely helped.
“I played the Sardegna Open as a training week with my fitness trainer. I didn’t return to the UK. I lost a tough match but it really helped to get on the clay. I’ve been smart with my schedule since I’ve not been able to get back to England too much. We’ve got a good balance at the minute.”
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