Roger Federer makes his long-awaited return to the court on Wednesday in Doha. His first opponent back will be Dan Evans. The Brit advanced to his fourth meeting with Federer following a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 triumph over Jeremy Chardy.
Evans, who 0-3 against Federer, is a frequent practice partner for the Swiss. They know each other well.
“We obviously practiced for two weeks, last two weeks,” Evans said. “I thought he was playing pretty well. We played plenty of sets. It was competitive.
“We had pretty good fun in practice. I’d say I worked pretty hard. I try not to put in too many bad sessions, so it was pretty good for him,” he added. “He obviously wants someone who is reliable they can trust to put in good sessions most days and get what they want. Yeah, I’d say that may be it; it may not. Might just be part luck.”
“It’s all very different when you get on the match court, as I found out today. I wasn’t perfect out there, and I had been playing pretty well in practice. It will be a lot different tomorrow. It’s going to be at night, as well, so a little slower. So we’ll see how the match goes.”
Federer was in the crowd watching the win by Evans.
“He obviously has seen a lot of my game the last few weeks, so I guess I would say it was more out of boredom,” joked Evans. “He’s probably a bit waiting for his practice than scouting out what’s happening on the court, you know. Let’s put it down to that.”
Evans has never won a set off Federer (0-9).
Also on Tuesday, Federer’s countryman Stan Wawrinka was bounced out by qualifier Lloyd Harris 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 7-5.
“I don’t have many words right now,” said Harris. “Stan was my idol growing up, so just to play against him was incredible. I was as determined as I could be, really pumped to play. I am proud of how I fought back after losing the second set. I feel like I’ve done really in the past couple of months and I hope to keep the momentum going.”
Tomorrow also will see the return of Dominic Thiem who will meet Australian Open surprise Aslan Karatsev. And Andrey Rublev will try to stay hot against Richard Gasquet.
“Courts are not too fast,” assessed Thiem. “It’s a good temperature all day long. I think the matches, they start only in the afternoon, so that’s great stuff to play on there. It’s gonna be my first tournament and the first match since over a month, since pretty devastating loss at the Australian Open, so still I had to digest that one and to settle everything new.
“But still I had a pretty good preparation the last weeks for this tournament. It’s gonna be the last tournaments on the hard court for a pretty long time, so try to have some good results.”
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