Kyle Edmund overcame a nervy start and the resourcefulness of Dan Evans to win the private British battle that took place in the Riviera sunshine.
Edmund is through to face defending champion Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Monte Carlo Open, after beating his Davis Cup colleague 7-5 6-1 in an hour and 20 minutes.
The result was no less than what was expected, given the clay surface that is far more to the liking of Edmund, who will now overtake Evans to become British number two.
However, despite the 22 year-old Yorkshireman’s superior pedigree as a dirtballer he struggled initially, and found himself 1-4 and 0-40 against his compatriot’s serve in the first set. He lost his first three service games.
Feeling the pressure of being favourite, and with the likes of Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov and Jamie Delgado watching from above on the VIP balcony, he made repeated errors at the start before his crunching forehand started to find its range.
Evans has to rely on his box of tricks on a surface he has never mastered, and he mixed his game up cleverly at the start, keeping the ball low with his slice and darting to the net.
The Midlander did not quite believe, however, and was quickly pulled back, even though he induced a state of near panic in his opponent every time he presented him with an overhead. At times his attempts at the smash were embarrassing.
Edmund relaxed once he broke for 3-1 in the second, although there were a few nerves when he had to serve it out at the end.
Playing Nadal will be great experience, but the Spaniard is almost unbeatable in Monaco, having won the title nine times.
Originally published at Daily Mail