Dan Evans has been backed to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili by fellow Brit James Ward – the man who fell to the Georgian in round one. Ward looked set to pull off a sensational victory at SW19 when leading by two sets to love, but Basilashvili showed why he is ranked 16th in the world to roar back and win in five.
Evans earned his spot in round two with a comprehensive 6-3 7-6 (5) 6-3 triumph over Argentina’s Federico Delbonis, so will have high hopes of reaching the third round for just the second time in his career.
The signs are good for the Birmingham resident as he has already won a couple of lower-tier grass-court tournaments this summer in the run-up to the All England Club showpiece. Ward feels he is good enough to progress and believes it is all down to how he performs on the day. “Of course (he can win),” he said.
“We play a completely different style. Evo slices a lot, will keep the ball low. A lot of times when he goes out and plays, it’s in his hands.”
The pair have never met on the ATP Tour and there is little to go on in terms of form, but the vociferous Wimbledon crowd will doubtless get right behind the home talent. At 6st1 in the world rankings, Evans is considerably below the man from Tbilisi but has shown scant regard for reputations at times in his career.
Ward proved that Basilashvili is vulnerable and the 27-year-old is the outsider of the pair to win, priced at 3.50, with Evans on offer at 1.30.