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British underdog Evans defeated by imperious Federer

By Eleanor Crooks

Roger Federer ended the Wimbledon hopes of a British player for the second successive round with a comprehensive defeat of Dan Evans on Centre Court.

Federer played the straight man in Wednesday's extraordinary Marcus Willis show and was in no mood to give the home fans any encouragement here.

The match did not begin until after 7.30pm after two long contests and Federer needed only an hour and 27 minutes to win 6-4 6-2 6-2.

As he did with Willis, Federer was happy to let his British opponent have his moment by walking first onto Centre Court.

It remains to be seen whether Willis can turn his moment in the spotlight into anything more but Evans has got himself on the right path and is reaping the rewards.

Ranked as low as 772 last May, the 26-year-old from Solihull was a top-100 player a year later and this was the first year he had won a match at Wimbledon.

He followed up his first-round victory over Jan-Lennard Struff by producing one of the best displays of his career to swat aside 30th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Evans made it clear after that match that he saw his date with Federer as a chance for an upset rather than a day out on Centre Court. He made a nervous start on serve and in no time found himself 4-0 down but then began to show his form of Thursday.

He won three games in a row but the deficit was just too great and Federer served out the first set. What Evans needed was to take his momentum into the second but Federer played a brilliant game to break to love in the opener and was soon 4-0 up again. Evans was close to playing Federer when he made his breakthrough at the US Open in 2013.

Evans defeated Kei Nishikori and Bernard Tomic in the first two rounds but could not take his chances against Tommy Robredo, who went on to stun Federer in round four.

That was the nadir of Federer's struggles with his back and his confidence until this year, when age appears finally to have started catching up with the 34-year-old.

He underwent surgery in February after damaging his knee and then missed a grand slam for the first time since 1999 when he sat out the French Open following back trouble.

His priority through all of it was to be fit for an 18th consecutive Wimbledon, and his form, particularly given Novak Djokovic's difficulties, suggested his protestations that an eighth title was beyond him may have been premature.

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