(Reuters) – Briton Dan Evans captured his first ATP Tour title with a commanding 6-2 6-3 win against Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Murray River Open final on Sunday.
Eighth seed Evans broke serve five times in the Australian Open warm-up event and needed just 77 minutes to defeat Auger-Aliassime, who has now lost all seven finals he has played in.
Evans, 30, capitalised on an error-strewn display from the Canadian third seed to break twice in the opening set and take control.
He did not let up in the second, the only blip coming when he was broken while serving for the match at 5-2. However, Evans produced an instant response to break back and seal victory.
The triumph comes four years after Evans was hit with a one-year ban for cocaine use. He had broken into the top 50 for the first time in 2017 and reached the last 16 at the Australian Open, his best performance at a Grand Slam.
“I said to (former coach) Mark Hilton just before my ban that I wanted to make a final,” Evans told reporters when asked about the significance of lifting his first trophy.
“The goal that year was to win a title.
“Of course I wanted to win one, but today was just another match. I approached it in that way. Everybody wants to win, it’s a great feeling.”
Evans said his form leading up to the event had been patchy but that the title would give him a major boost heading into the first Grand Slam of the year.
He faces compatriot Cameron Norrie in the first round on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)