Evans/Skupski Maintain Monte-Carlo Momentum
Hours after handing World No. 1 Novak Djokovic his first defeat of 2021, Daniel Evans was right back on court at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters ready to wreak more havoc on the doubles draw. Evans partnered with countryman Neal Skupski to topple third seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 3-6, 7-6(5), 13-11 on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals.
Facing Dodig and Polasek for the second time in as many weeks, the Brits had to dig deep to save three match points in a nail-biting Match Tie-break. Evans erased two of those with inch-perfect lobs as the pair turned around the decider and sealed the victory in an hour and 53 minutes.
“Obviously clay [is] not my favorite surface. But I think the conditions have actually suited me this week,” Evans said in a post-match press conference. “It’s not been very warm. The ball stayed low. I’m moving way better on the clay. That’s definitely helped.”
The win sent Evans and Skupski into their second consecutive ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final, where they will face Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan. It also continues the momentum built up from a strong run to the final at the Miami Open presented by Itau, the pair’s first tournament as a team. Skupski had previously partnered with older brother Ken Skupski to victory at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, their first title together since 2019. They had to part ways temporarily after Ken was diagnosed with a blood clot in his right leg ahead of their trip to Miami.
Joining them in the quarter-finals, top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah stormed past Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz with a 6-0, 6-2 victory. The Colombians allowed their opponents to hold serve exactly once during the match – at the start of the second set. But the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships reeled off another six games in a row to advance.
Cabal and Farah will take on Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman next. The defending champion in singles, Fognini partnered with Schwartzman in doubles for the first time in three years as they took down sixth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot 1-6, 6-4, 10-7. The pair previously linked up at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open, where they bowed out to Cabal and Farah.
Also in action, second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic booked a quarter-final clash with seventh seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. The Croatians needed an hour and 13 minutes to take down alternates Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar 6-4, 1-6, 10-3 to advance.