Evans Returns His Way To Career-High Ranking
Daniel Evans is a slow burn that has spectacularly caught fire.
The British No. 2 boasts a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 45 this week, thanks to an impressive run Down Under in January. Evans earned his first career Emirates ATP Rankings points more than 10 years ago, back in November 2006, and was outside the Top 250 just 14 months ago.
The 26 year old from Birmingham, England, is 7-2 in 2017. He reached his first career final at the Apia International Sydney and the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the Australian Open. Along the way, Evans defeated five Top 50 players, including No. 7 Marin Cilic, No. 8 Dominic Thiem and No. 27 Bernard Tomic.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Evans’ recent rise pinpoints a definitive improvement with his return game and showcases how he's being far more opportunistic converting break points.
2016 To 2017 Return Strategy Comparison
|Strategy / Points Won||2016||2017||Percentage-Point Improvement|
|Break Points Converted||39%||52%||13|
|Return Games Won||20%||25%||5|
|Return Points Won||36%||38%||2|
The strategic category that has fueled his career-best ranking is converting break points, which has jumped 13 percentage points from 39 per cent in 2016 to a world-beating 52 per cent (34/65) so far this year. That even eclipses Australian Open champion Roger Federer, who converted 44 per cent (37/84) of his break-point opportunities in winning seven straight matches at Melbourne Park.
The ATP Stats LEADERBOARDS, powered by the Infosys Information Platform, shows Evans to be No. 1 in the world so far in 2017 in converting break points among players who have had 50-plus break-point opportunities.
Those metrics have directly helped the Brit raise his return game win percentage from 20 per cent to 25 per cent. It’s interesting to note that service games won have only improved one percentage point, from 80 per cent to 81 per cent, during the same period.
It’s always difficult to improve against an opponent’s more powerful first serve when returning, so Evan’s two percentage-point gain (28 per cent to 30 per cent) in this area is more impressive than it seems on the surface. The five percentage-point leap on second-serve points won (47 per cent to 52 per cent) is significant as it jumps above the 50 per cent threshold, essentially providing Evans statistical ownership of his opponent’s second serves.
There have also been some impressive numbers for Evans on the serving side of the equation. Evans hit only 95 aces during the 2016 season, and he is already at 55 after just two tournaments in 2017, representing 58 per cent of his 2016 total.
Last season he saved 70 per cent of break points when he made his first serve and a very high 60 per cent behind his second serve, which was actually four percentage points better than fellow countryman and World No. 1 Andy Murray, at 56 per cent.
Evan’s ranking is set to climb even higher this month, as he has only 60 points to defend from February 2016. He is playing at a Top 20 level so far in 2017, and it may not be too long before his ranking catches up with his scintillating level of play.