Dubai: British veteran Dan Evans broke through to win his first ATP Tour title Sunday after 14 years of trying, while Italian teenager Jannik Sinner bagged the second of his short career.
The 30-year-old Evans finally got his hands on a trophy with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Murray River Open.
“It was a good day, I played well and good preparation going into next week,” said Evans. “I’ve lost two finals so was good to get over the line. I’m delighted with how this week went.”
It was a long time coming for eighth-seed Evans, who made his debut in 2007 and had reached two finals previously, losing them both.
But he has been in good form this week, clinching the title without dropping a set all tournament and showing no signs of fatigue ahead of the Australian Open, where he opens his campaign against fellow Briton Cameron Norrie.
He peppered Auger-Aliassime with changes of pace using his backhand slice, putting pressure on the 20-year-old who made too many unforced errors.
It was another disappointment for third seed Auger-Aliassime, who has now made seven ATP finals and lost them all.
“Credit to him for today. He did what he had to do, he played well,” said the Canadian. “He was aggressive, mixing it up well, and I just didn’t play a good match overall.”
Sinner, who in November became the youngest ATP champion in 12 years when he won in Sofia, burnished his credentials by taking out the Great Ocean Road.
The 19-year-old battled hard to get past fellow Italian Stefano Travaglia 7-6, 6-4.
He is now the youngest player to have won two ATP titles since Novak Djokovic in 2006.
“The last few days have been very tough, especially playing twice in one day,” he said. “So, thanks to my physio.”
Sinner has little time to rest before facing Canada’s 11th seed Denis Shapovalov in the late night match on Margaret Court Arena on Monday in the Australian Open first round.