• Queen's

Evans battles through pain barrier at Queen's

Nick Atkin at Queen's Club
June 9, 2014
Dan Evans will face Kevin Anderson in the second round © Getty Images

British No.2 Dan Evans battled through a persistent knee injury to down Jurgen Melzer in three sets with a gutsy display as he moved into the second round at Queen's.

Evans triumphed 6-3 6-7(5) 7-6(2) in two hours and 11 minutes to set up a clash with South Africa's Kevin Anderson.

A break down in the third, Evans fought back to take a marathon decider which lasted just three minutes shy of an hour, sealing the tie-break and the win with an ace in his first ever meeting on tour with world No.51 Melzer.

Evans later revealed he will take some time off after the grass-court season ends due to a knee problem he has been carrying since September, though he is optimistic he won't need an operation.

However he is currently taking "painkillers and a few other things" to manage the injury and admitted he "probably" wouldn't be playing right now were it not for the lure of competing on home soil.

"You want to play your home tournaments," Evans said. "I especially like playing in Britain. You're given a lot of opportunities, I think it's only right you sort of pay it back, digging in and trying to win the matches.

"Obviously Wimbledon is the tournament you want to win the matches in because there are more points there.

"Second, third round, fourth round of Wimbledon [would be] pretty good. Winning some matches in Wimbledon will definitely be a goal."

James Ward will face world No.13 Grigor Dimitrov in the second round © Getty Images

Evans' fellow Brit James Ward will take on fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov in the next round after a straight sets victory over Blaz Rola.

Ward needed a 12-10 decider to see off the Slovenian and qualify for the French Open last month, but this time it was much more comfortable.

Ranked 64 places below his opponent at 155, British No.3 Ward - who was given a wildcard to the tournament- won 7-5 6-4 in 87 minutes to book a meeting with world No.13 Dimitrov.

"It would obviously be an upset [to beat Dimitrov] if you look at the rankings," said Ward. "We practiced last week. We know each other pretty well, anyway. I think it will be a good match."

Ward also admitted he had taken plenty of confidence from his run to qualify for Roland Garros, where he fell in four sets to Tommy Robredo in the first round.

"Yeah, obviously it was great," Ward added. "Everyone has been taking a little bit more interest since then. It's a lot of confidence.

"I beat two good players in the qualies there and took four sets with Robredo. It was a tough match. He had to play well, which he did. I also played a good level. He's a guy who has played really well, especially at the French.

"It was a tough draw, but it was also a good experience and one that will help me in the next few weeks, I'm sure."

The Brits didn't have it all their own way, however - British No.4 Daniel Cox lost 7-5 6-2 to France's Adrian Mannarino.

Meanwhile, defending champion Andy Murray will take on Paul-Henri Mathieu on Wednesday after the Frenchman earned a 7-6(2) 6-4 win over Aljaz Bedene.

Elsewhere, four-time Queen's champion Lleyton Hewitt raced to a 6-3 6-3 win against Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver in just 69 minutes.

"I'd love to win a fifth title here," said Hewitt, who reached the semi-finals at Queen's Club in 2013. "The run that I had last year was great. I felt like I got a lot of confidence out of that.

"That set me up I think for a good U.S. summer and good U.S. Open beating [Juan Martin] Del Potro there as well. I really love coming back to this tournament and playing well.

"I couldn't care less about my ranking, [though] every tournament I go into, I want to win. Every match I play I want to win.

"But the majors are still what I play for. In a couple of weeks' time, it's one of the big ones for me. That's still the motivation. Nothing has really changed."

Hewitt's fellow Australian Bernard Tomic, who could face Murray in the third round, beat the United States' Tim Smyczek 6-4 3-6 7-5, while Sam Querrey edged 14th seed Jeremy Chardy 6-7(4) 7-6(4) 7-6(5).

Qualifier James Duckworth, also of Australia, set up a second round clash with Tomas Berdych after bouncing back from a disastrous opening set to beat Israel's Dudi Sela 0-6 7-6(5) 6-4.

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