The eighth seed saved all four break points and won a 24-point tie-break in the first set to beat two-time major finalist Kevin Anderson 7-6(11), 7-5 after two hours and 19 minutes. The 31-year-old will next play fellow Briton Cameron Norrie.
“It was a tough tie-break, I think [I was] a little fortunate to come through that one and the first set,” Evans said. “But I played a good, solid second set and hung in pretty well. I was pretty happy with that.”
In their only previous ATP Head2Head clash seven years ago, Anderson beat Evans for the loss of just five games at The Queen’s Club on grass. This time, Evans flipped the script by playing steadier tennis in the high-pressure moments to advance.
Former World No. 5 Anderson, a lucky loser in San Diego, increased his aggression at the end of the second set to try to find a breakthrough on Evans’ serve. But the Briton battled out of trouble and broke in the final game when the South African missed a backhand long.
Evans is pursuing his second ATP Tour title this week. In January, he claimed his maiden tour-level crown by winning the Murray River Open in Melbourne.