Dan Evans continued his rich vein of form as he guided Britain to a 1-0 lead over Canada in the opening round of the Davis Cup.
With Andy Murray absent from the tie in Ottawa, Evans is Britain’s top ranked singles player this weekend and he rose to the occasion by beating the talented 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov in straight sets.
Evans rarely looked troubled against his rangy opponent, whose big serve and powerful groundstrokes could have caused problems on a super-quick hard court.
The Brit recorded a comprehensive 6-3 6-3 6-4 victory, giving Britain the advantage in the best of five match format.
Kyle Edmund, the British number two in this tie, will face Vasek Pospisil in the second singles match of the day.
Shapovalov starts nervously
This was Evans’ second encounter with the Canadian tyro, who the Brit beat at a challenger event in Drummondville -Canada- last year.
On that occasion, Shapovalov claimed the opening set before going down in a closely-fought battle; however nerves appeared to get the better of the teenager in the opening game here.
In the first game of the match Shapovalov double faulted, which handed Evans an early break point opportunity.
The Canadian, whose game is built around aggression and attack, subsequently fired a forehand wide, gifting the Brit an early lead.
Evans stroms to victory
Following his run to the Australian Open fourth round earlier this month, Evans reached a career high of 45 in the world and his confidence was clear to see.
The Brit consistently diffused his opponent’s power and showed great touch around the net on a zippy court - which had been laid down to suit the Canadians.
Evans sealed the first set in 33 minutes, without ever being troubled on serve.
Shapovalov, who began hit the ball more freely, claimed his first break points in the fifth game of the second set.
Both, however, were saved by Evans- the first with an ace, the second with an accomplished volley.
Evans broke Shapovalov in the following game, as the Canadian’s erratic forehand went astray.
The third set was close until the end, with Shapovalov holding serve until 4-4.
In the ninth games Evans sealed a decisive break with a dazzling forehand pass, which Shapovalov couldn’t hook back over the net.
Evans served out the match convincingly, putting the visitors in control of the tie.