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Evans thrilled with triumph, as Murray plays down withdrawal



Top man: Dan Evans with his winner's trophy

Top man: Dan Evans with his winner's trophy

Getty Images for Battle Of The B

Top man: Dan Evans with his winner's trophy

Dan Evans dominated his domestic rival Kyle Edmund to claim victory in the Battle of the Brits exhibition event at Roehampton yesterday.

The 30-year-old Evans lived up to his reputation as the nation's No.1 by going unbeaten through the round-robin singles tournament, culminating in an emphatic 6-3 6-2 final win.

Evans made an immediate impression by breaking Edmund in the opening game of the match and although he was immediately broken back, he continued to retain the ascendancy.

A long forehand from Edmund handed Evans his second break in the fifth game of the set and it proved enough for the favourite - now ranked a career-high 28 in the world - to see out the first set.

Edmund rallied at the start of the second, breaking Evans immediately only to lose his serve straight away and enable Evans to once again seize the upper hand.

A dazzling cross-court winner helped Evans win a marathon sixth game of the set to take a 4-2 lead and there was no looking back as he duly broke Edmund again to love to wrap up his victory.

Although it will not make the official head-to-head record, it was also Evans' first tournament win over Edmund, who had won their two previous meetings in Monaco and Eastbourne respectively.

Paying tribute to the officials who staged the unique social-distancing tournament, Evans said. "I wasn't sure how it was going to be but it literally felt like a tournament event.

"The players have been raving about the tournament all week. It's been a great week and hopefully we can all do it again."

Earlier, James Ward failed to make the most of having Andy Murray in his corner as he lost the third-place play-off 6-3 7-5 to Cam Norrie.

Ward stepped in late to replace Murray, who was beaten by Evans in their semi-final on Saturday and pulled out as a precautionary measure due to a sore shin.

Murray said: "I'm okay - it's just that this week is by far the most I've done in seven months. One of the shins has been an issue and it's a bit sore, so best not to risk it.

"The results were not the important thing. At times I played well and at times my level dropped. If I can get to the level I played in the first set yesterday and maintain that, it would be good."

Murray was beaten 1-6 6-3 10-8 in the semi-final on Saturday by Evans, who battled back to defeat the former World No.1.

"I thought I started the match well and then like in all of my matches this week, my levels dropped off a bit after that," Murray said after his defeat.

"I've just not been able to sustain a high level for long enough. My game is there, I just need more time to practice and prepare and I'll get there."

Murray has indicated his next event is likely to be the Citi Open in Washington, scheduled to start on August 14.

Belfast Telegraph