Daniel Evans and Frances Tiafoe will square off in the second round match on the hard courts in Miami on Friday.
Looking at Dan Evans you can see that he lost three of his last four matches, but fact is he played some really good tennis this year. The Brit won the Murray River Open in early February, which cost him a loss in the Australian Open first round against Norrie, as he was tired. Then came a win against Chardy in Doha, a three set loss against Federer (also Doha) and another three set loss in Dubai against an unleashed Karatsev, who won that tournament.
Tiafoe won a three setter against Travaglia in the first round here. It was a mediocre performance which summed up a mediocre year so far from the American. A 7-6 record combined on hard and clay, no notable wins (zero wins as an underdog), hasn’t won consecutive matches since early January.
The H2H reads 3-1 for Evans, the last meeting being a 7-6 6-2 win for him in Ocober in Antwerp. All four meetings were on hard courts.
I’ve been really impressed with Evans this year. He got some great wins under his belt (Chardy, Coric, Auger Aliassime) and all three of his losses were competitive and can be easily explained: tired with Norrie, Federer is Federer, Karatsev was playing stellar tennis. Evans played very well against Fed and Karatsev – for me those matches get a thumbs up as opposed to saying anything negative.
As for Tiafoe, as previously noted, he hasn’t been that good lately. He probably deserved to win his first round match against Travaglia, but was in big trouble down a set and a break, and Travaglia gave him a big helping hand to get into the match. Many ups and downs from Tiafoe, and overall a shaky performance against an average opponent who didn’t play his best himself.
Unless Tiafoe suddenly finds some magic, you wouldn’t back him to beat any top guys soon.
The way Evans is playing he seems well on his way to a Top 20 ranking, and you have to feel he is a solid favorite against an average Tiafoe. The odds are very surprising to me and I expect them to drop. We’ll see if that happens, but personally I choose to take the bet early. I’m backing Evans with confidence to win his Miami opener. Prediction: Dan Evans – Frances Tiafoe 7-6 6-3.