Stan Wawrinka paid tribute to Dan Evans after beating the British star in round one of the Indian Wells Masters. Evans has enjoyed an excellent run of form since returning from a 12-month drugs ban and beat Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans and 23-year-old American Noah Rubin in qualifying to make the main draw.
However, his tournament ended at the first hurdle as Swiss ace Wawrinka pulled off a 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-3 triumph in two hours and 11 minutes. It was a hard-fought encounter for the three-time Grand Slam winner and Wawrinka acknowledged after the match that Evans is never an easy opponent to face.
“He’s for sure a great player,” said the 33-year-old. “Also, this year he’s playing a lot of matches and has a lot of confidence. He’s won a lot of matches. He’s always a tough player to play, for sure. You can see against other players. He always makes it difficult.
“I think he’s mixing it a lot, especially in conditions like today when it’s windy like that. With his slice, he feels the ball really well. He’s mixing his game, serve-and-volleying, sometimes coming in, sometimes not, passing well. It’s always difficult to play against him.”
Next up for Wawrinka is a clash with Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, with compatriot Roger Federer likely to be waiting in round three.