New York | Evans and Norrie complete the new Fab Four
In British tennis terms, the victories of Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie on Thursday, following those of Andy Murray and Jack Draper 24 hours earlier, mean that for the first time since the world rankings were introduced in 1973, Britain has four players listed in the top 50!
I don’t see why we can’t go on Cameron Norrie
The ‘Fab Four’, as they are now known, reached the fourth round of the US Open, giving Britain four men in the last 32 in New York for the first time since 1933.
But the two who completed this foursome had some early reality checks in their respective wins.
Seventh seed Cameron Norrie beat Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4 6-4 7-6(4) while Dan Evans beat Australian James Duckworth 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4.
Britain’s No. 2 and 20th seed Evans, at 32 like Murry at 35, could be in the final stages of their respective careers, has no desire to retire and admits he enjoys the success that he’s harvesting right now, especially at the biggest events on the tour.
In fact, the world No. 23 has shown a fondness for the North American hard courts, feeling more relaxed after “not particularly enjoying” the heightened attention he has garnered at Wimbledon.
A run to the semi-finals in Montreal – the second time he’d reached the last four at a Masters event – was good preparation for the US Open, but a tough first-round defeat in Cincinnati dampened his spirits instead. two weeks from the start of the last major of the season.
Last year, Evans reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows, matching his career-best Grand Slam run in the last 16 recorded at the 2017 Australian Open.
Now he is one more victory away from equaling that high point, but his next opponent, Croatian 2014 US Open champion 15th seed Marin Cilic, will be a tough hurdle to clear.
Cilic knocked out Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-3 7-6(8) 6-2 to reach the third round.
Evans dominated the court 12 in the first two sets against Duckworth, only losing the third after losing serve for the first time in the match.
The momentum seemed to rock Duckworth’s path, 30, when he broke for the second time early in the fourth and took a 3-1 lead before Evans resumed his game to overturn the game in his favor and clinch victory with a stunning backhand winner down the line to reach the last 32.
Following her victory, seventh seed Norrie, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in July, equaled her career high in 2020 at Flushing Meadows.
“I think it’s very cool to be four of us, and especially that we all support each other. It’s brilliant,” Norrie said when her victory completed the line-up of Britain’s tennis Fab Four.
“I don’t see why we can’t continue.”
On this occasion, Norrie didn’t play his best tennis, but it was more than enough to see 59th-ranked Sousa.
After the pair traded breaks early in the match, Norrie again captured his opponent’s serve late in the first set and went further with just one break in the third game of the second.
From that point on, especially with the 33-year-old Sousa struggling with a shoulder problem which later required special attention, Norrie was in for the win.
But that didn’t turn out to be the case as he conceded his own serve in the sixth game of the third, but he regained his focus and concentration to come back and claim the overall victory in the tie-break .
“I thought I didn’t start so well. I was pretty nervous in the game, pretty tight,” admitted Norrie.
“I managed to play well in the big spots throughout the game. I felt like at the end of the sets I had really raised my level.
Norrie continues to face Denmark’s Holger Rune, who was knocked out of the third round when great American ace John Isner retired with a broken wrist.