Aussie denies Evans first title since return from drugs ban

Evans will now head to his first ATP Tour event at Queen's Club, for which he was given a wildcard since returning.

Dan Evans has suffered just four defeats in his 20 competitive matches since coming back onto the circuit and will see his world ranking rise from a lowly 530. (File Photo)   -  AFP

Briton Dan Evans' hopes of a first title since returning from a drugs ban came to nothing on Sunday as he was beaten 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 by in-form Australian Alex de Minaur in the Nottingham Challenge Final.

Evans, who made his comeback in April after being banned for a year for testing positive for cocaine, will now head to his first ATP Tour event at Queen's Club, for which he was given a wildcard since returning.

The 28-year-old Briton — who has suffered just four defeats in his 20 competitive matches since coming back onto the circuit and will see his world ranking rise from a lowly 530 — will play Adrian Mannarino in the first round at Queen's.

READ: Gasquet wins all-French final in Rosmalen

De Minaur, who will also rise up the rankings having broken into the top 100 on the back of his success at Surbiton last weekend, fought back from 4-2 down in the first set. Some of his play was outstanding and Evans sportingly called out 'too good' when the 19-year-old's sublime lob clinched the first set.

Evans showed character in breaking back in the second set with de Minaur serving for the match at 5-4, but the Australian made no mistake when presented with a second opportunity to secure his first ATP Challenger title.

British tennis fans will hope that fourth seed Johanna Konta can go one better than Evans in the women's final, later, on Sunday against another Australian, the top-seeded Ashleigh Barty.