WASHINGTON — British tennis player Dan Evans lost his first match on tour since testing positive for COVID-19 last month and missing the Tokyo Olympics.
Evans, who is ranked 27th and was seeded No. 6 at the Citi Open, was beaten 7-6 (1), 6-0 by Brandon Nakashima at the hard-court tournament.
“It was very strange to be back playing. Probably a week, two weeks, a little too early. But I decided to come out to practice and get out here to get used to the conditions,” said Evans, who hadn’t played since a third-round loss at Wimbledon in July.
“It was difficult to know how I’d feel. It’s been difficult to get back into some sort of shape. I had pretty bad symptoms,” he said. “I was sort of out of the game, I guess, for … 14 to 20 days. Not the best thing in the world, but that’s what it is.”
Evans, who received a first-round bye in Washington, said he had received one vaccination shot before getting the virus; he said his second shot has been delayed because he got sick.
Nakashima, a Californian who just turned 20, has won 10 of his past 12 matches, all on hard courts, including runs to the finals at Los Cabos and Atlanta. That helped him climb to a career-best ranking of 89th.
Next for Nakashima at the tuneup for the U.S. Open will be an all-American matchup in the third round against Denis Kudla, who beat No. 10 seed Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-2. Yet another U.S. player defeated a seed when Steve Johnson came back to top No. 3 Alex de Minaur 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2.
Like Evans, de Minaur sat out the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.
In another afternoon match, 11th-seeded John Millman beat qualifier Elias Ymer 6-2, 7-6 (8).
The most-anticipated match of the day was scheduled for the main stadium at night, with 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal making his Washington debut against Jack Sock.
It’s the top-seeded Nadal’s first competition since he lost to Novak Djokovic in the French Open semifinals on June 11.
Nadal then pulled out of Wimbledon and the Summer Games, saying his body needed rest and relaxation. He revealed this week he was dealing with an injured foot and didn’t pick up his racket for three weeks.