US Open 2020: Johanna Konta and Dan Evans advance to second round

British number ones Johanna Konta and Dan Evans claimed straight-sets victories in their opening matches at the US Open.

Ninth seed Konta, 29, overcame a tough first set to beat compatriot Heather Watson 7-6 (9-7) 6-1.

Evans, 30, the 23rd seed, made light work of Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild as he won 6-2 6-1 7-6 (7-5).

The pair join fellow Britons Cameron Norrie, Kyle Edmund and Andy Murray in the second round.

Konta, a quarter-finalist in 2019 at Flushing Meadows, now plays Romania’s world number 77 Sorana Cirstea.

Evans will play France’s world number 77 Corentin Moutet in the second round.

Konta overcomes early challenge from Watson
Hopes are high for Konta coming into the US Open after a semi-finals appearance at last week’s Western & Southern Open.

Victory against Watson is the first step as she looks to improve on her effort last year, especially given six of the world’s top 10 women are absent this time.

But from the outset Watson, 28, showed some of the form that won her a WTA title in Acapulco before coronavirus put a stop to competitive tennis earlier this year.

There was little to separate the two Britons in the opening games, as both held serve in a high-quality contest.

Konta began to edge ahead and eventually got the break to go 5-4 up, but world number 54 Watson broke back immediately.

After saving two set points at 6-5 down, Konta relied on her serve to save four more in the tie-break.

She eventually wrapped up the set after an hour and 13 minutes as Watson’s forehand drifted wide of the line.

Two breaks of serve in quick succession – one thanks to a sublime forehand lob – brought Konta to match point at 5-0 but she slapped a backhand winner into the net.

She served out with ease though, holding to love to earn her place in the second round, and admitting there was “another level of anxiety” playing a fellow Briton.

“I think it is always inevitably going to be a bit more stressful whenever you play a compatriot,” she said.

“So I was anticipating that and I just kind of wanted to put that to one side and enjoy playing a really good player and competing well.”

Evans enjoys straightforward win
Evans, who reached the US Open third round in 2019, did not look troubled by Seyboth Wild as the Brazilian committed four unforced errors to go a break down in his first service game.

The Briton faced just two break points in the match – both came in the first set and Seyboth Wild was unable to convert either.

Evans played the kind of efficient, fast tennis that helped him rise to British number one for the first time in October 2019 and he dropped just three games on his way to taking a two-set lead.

He was forced to raise his level in the final set as his opponent showed glimpses of the play that earned him the junior title at Flushing Meadows in 2018.

But a comeback from two sets down was too much to ask in the 20-year-old’s first Grand Slam main-draw match and Seyboth Wild eventually crumbled in the tie-break.

He sent a forehand into the net to give Evans victory, meaning there will be four British men in the US Open second round for the first time since 1974.