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Dan Evans is into the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals - REUTERS

Dan Evans is into the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals – REUTERS

Dan Evans might be well advised to make the short walk from Monte Carlo Country Club to Monaco’s famous casino, because everything he touches right now is turning to gold.

After Thursday’s career-best win over world No1 Novak Djokovic, Evans faced David Goffin today in a high-quality quarter-final. The two of them traded blows until they were coated in red clay granules, and resembled the survivors of a mid-Western dust storm.

Goffin had all the pedigree, including three previous appearances at this stage of the Monte Carlo Masters. But it was Evans who dragged himself over the line. He let out a mighty roar when Goffin’s final forehand flew wide, concluding his 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory after 2hr 41min.

“I was probably a little lucky to come through,” said Evans afterwards, as he spoke to Amazon Prime’s studio pundits. He might have been thinking about all the break points he saved: 15 in total, from Goffin’s 17 opportunities.

This was a triumph of willpower and positive thinking as much as courtcraft. And perhaps the most impressive detail is that Evans arrived in Monaco on a losing streak of four tight matches he could have won, including a psychologically crushing reverse against 19-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti in which he had held four match points.

Britain's Dan Evans in action during his quarter final match against Belgium's David Goffin -  REUTERSBritain's Dan Evans in action during his quarter final match against Belgium's David Goffin -  REUTERS

Britain’s Dan Evans in action during his quarter final match against Belgium’s David Goffin – REUTERS

Only one was needed today, as Goffin folded under the pressure of serving to stay in the contest. As Evans explained later, “I think I did a good job in the third [set] to keep going point after point and hang in there.”

Having dropped a few places to No15 after a difficult year, Goffin is just beginning to find some form again. He has an artist’s hands and such quick feet that he was able to neutralise one of Evans’s chief weapons, the low-bouncing backhand slice, by running around it and bringing his own forehand into play. But he struggled to return serve consistently, or to deal with Evan’s darting net attacks.

“He has a lot of talent,” said Goffin of Evans after the match. “He’s able to change tactics when he needs to. He’s very smart, very precise. When he feels down, he moves forward, makes shorter rallies.

“I knew him when I was a junior,” Goffin added. “I could see his red socks and the clay. You could see he didn’t like playing on the surface. [But] it was only him who didn’t believe he was able to play well on clay. Now he’s more mature, has a more stable game, and he’s able to fight and believe he can win.”

The result guarantees that Evans will equal his own career-best ranking of No26 after this event. And he would fly even higher if he could overcome Stefanos Tsitsipas in Saturday’s semi-finals. This will be a dauting task, though, because Tsitsipas can match Evans for guile and outdo him for power. He has dominated their two previous meetings.

“I’ll have to change some things, maybe be a bit more aggressive,” said Evans. “If I get dragged behind [the baseline] like today, with all due respect to David, he’ll come in more and knock the volleys off a bit better. I need to be the one doing that.”

Whatever happens, Evans has already become the first Briton to reach the semi-finals of a Masters 1000 event since Andy Murray’s last great season of 2016. Were he to somehow overcome Tsitsipas, he would tick off a more considerable landmark, as the first Briton to reach the Monte Carlo final in the Open era.

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