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Evans continues to move in the right direction - but needs to pass Go.

DAN Evans will resume his bid to reach the final of the Nature Valley Open today after more rain delays in Nottingham.

The British number three, who won the Challenger title in Surbiton last week, had earlier battled past German Dominik Koepfer in their quarter-final clash.

However, more rain delays forced the eventual postponement of his scheduled semifinal against Japan's Go Soeda, which will now take place today following the conclusion of matches in the WTA event.

Evans, runner-up to Alex de Minaur in last year's secondtier Nottingham event, eventually progressed 7-6 (6) 6-7 (6) 6-4 against Koepfer in a contest which ran for more than two and a half hours.

Because of rain delays earlier in the week, some of the matches had to be switched to be played indoors at Nottingham Trent University. However, with conditions having improved during Saturday, the semi-finals were also expected to be able to take place on grass later during the evening before showers returned.

Evans, 29 and from Birmingham, is moving up the world rankings following his 12-month ban for taking cocaine and is currently on a winning run of eight straight matches.

In the other semi-final, Russia's Evgeny Donskoy will play Frenchman Antoine Hoang.

In the women's WTA tournament, top seed Caroline Garcia was on the brink of victory against Jennifer Brady when their semi-final was eventually postponed.

American Brady, who upset fourth seed Maria Sakkari in the quarter-finals, had taken the first set 6-4 before another suspension in play.

Having finally been able to get out on to the grass to resume action shortly after 6.30pm, Frenchwoman Garcia was able to recover and swiftly levelled the match when taking the next set 6-3. However, with Garcia 4-3 ahead in the decider and a break up, play was again interrupted before the decision was made to call it a day.

Earlier, second seed Donna Vekic had been able to beat the showers and defeat Tatjana Maria 5-7 6-0 6-0. ? Top seed Kiki Bertens delighted the home crowd as she secured a place in the final of the Libema Open with victory over Kazakh qualifier Elena Rybakina.

The Dutchwoman had played two matches on Friday to continue her progress at 's-Hertogenbosch and showed no let-up as she saw off Rybakina 6-4 6-4 to reach her third WTA Tour final this season.

The world number four, who claimed the titles in both St Petersburg and Madrid, will face Alison Riske today, which will take place on Centre Court after the conclusion of one of the delayed men's semi-finals from the ATP event.

The American earlier pulled off a remarkable comeback during the final set to beat Russian Veronika Kudermetova 6-4 3-6 7-6 (5).

"She's a great grass court player, so it is going to be really tough," Bertens said. "I'm just really happy to be in the final of my home tournament." ? Both semi-finals of the Libema Open will have to be completed today ahead of the final after more rain delays in 's-Hertogenbosch.

Defending champion Richard Gasquet will be hoping to recover from the brink of defeat to Australian Jordan Thompson, who had been serving for victory when 7-5 5-3 ahead in the second set.

The other semi-final between second seed Borna Coric and Adrian Mannarino was suspended during a finalset tie-break. Coric had won the first set 6-4 with Frenchman Mannarino taking the second 6-3 to force a decider.

Mannarino will resume against Coric on Centre Court ahead of the WTA event final, with Gasquet versus Thompson concluding over on Court 1. At the Mercedes Cup, Matteo Berrettini beat home favourite Jan-Lennard Struff to secure his place in the final.

The Italian number two delivered a 6-4 7-5 victory in one hour and 15 minutes.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 16, 2019
Words:629
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