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Tennis-Alcaraz holds off Evans to reach U.S. Open fourth round


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz overcame Britain’s Daniel Evans with a 6-2 6-3 4-6 6-3 win on Saturday, surviving his first real challenge of this U.S. Open in the third round.

The top-seeded Spaniard breezed through his opening matches at Flushing Meadows and at first appeared on track for another easy win but had to find his best form after Evans mounted a third-set comeback. He next plays Italian Matteo Arnaldi.

Alcaraz moved through the first set like a freight train, winning the first four games, and the 26th-seeded Evans failed to convert any of his three break points in the eighth game.

Evans did let out a roar as he broke Alcaraz with an unreturnable backhand down the line in the second game of the second set but the Spaniard broke back immediately and the Briton helped his opponent to another break in the fifth.

Alcaraz broke Evans again with a well-executed drop shot to close out the second set. However, Evans upped his level in the third set, channeling his frustration into a superb game seven where he broke with a backhand winner.

The 20-year-old Alcaraz tapped into his superior speed and agility to tame Evans, 13 years his senior, in the fourth set, zipping back and forth along the baseline before breaking with a sublime forehand winner in the sixth game.

He finished the entertaining clash with a forehand winner, one of 27 in the match, prompting cheers of approval from the rapt crowd inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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