Evans secures US Open slot
Dan Evans added another significant milestone to the best season of his career by qualifying for the main draw of the US Open.
The 23-year-old from Birmingham looked like he might be a wasted talent, let down by his attitude and lack of application.
But Davis Cup success has been the catalyst for Evans to turn his career around, and his 6-7 (3/7) 6-4 6-2 victory over Spain's Adrian Menendez-Maceira was just the latest achievement.
He was rewarded with a first-round tie against 11th seed Kei Nishikori in what will be his first grand slam main draw match away from Wimbledon.
After winning the deciding rubber in Britain's shock Davis Cup victory over Russia in April, Evans went on to reach the third round at Queen's Club.
His trip to North America has been hugely profitable, with his three US Open wins preceded by back-to-back finals in big Challenger events as he broke into the top 200 for the first time.
Evans had only won two qualifying matches at grand slams in his whole career previously, and only got into qualifying here due to withdrawals.
Asked where the achievement ranked, he said: "Davis Cup is obviously for your country, but I'm pretty proud of my efforts.
"Not just here - I've been over here nearly six weeks so to lose first round and then make final, final and qualify and still be going is pretty good.
"I'd never been in the last round of qualies before, but I knew I was better than the guy, it was just a case of getting it out there.
"I should really have won the first set but I'm pretty happy with how I came back and in the end it was pretty straightforward."
At 179, Evans is ranked five places higher than his Spanish opponent, and he began superbly, racing into a 3-0 lead.
But he let Menendez-Maceiras back in and the Spaniard was the stronger in the tie-break.
Evans did not let the disappointment affect him, though, and broke in the third game of the second set before taking a 4-0 lead in the decider.
He had seen match points slip away in both his Challenger finals but, although two came and went, there was no danger of the match following and he clenched his fist as Menendez-Maceira hit a backhand long on the third opportunity.
Evans' victory was much needed after Elena Baltacha and James Ward both fell in the final round in matches they might have won.
Baltacha served for the match in the second set against Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito before going down 4-6 7-5 6-1 while Ward was a break up in the decider but lost 6-3 3-6 6-4 to India's Somdev Devvarman.
It was particularly unfortunate for Baltacha, who has now lost three times in the final round of qualifying at the US Open.