“I will just have to park that and go again”, said the British No 1 Dan Evans, after a chastening 6-2, 6-1 defeat at the hands of Stefanos Tsitsipas had brought his career-best run in Monte Carlo to a slightly deflating end. Evans admitted that he had been “outclassed” by the relentless Tsitsipas, who pummelled winners from all angles while also knowing exactly how to counteract Evans’s favourite ploys. But Evans was still proud of his run to the semi-finals of the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters – as indeed he should be, when you consider that no Briton had reached the last four of a Masters 1000 event since Andy Murray’s last great season of 2016. The peak was clearly Evans’s victory over world No 1 Novak Djokovic on Thursday. But he also eliminated three other strong players in Dusan Lajovic, Hubert Hurkacz and David Goffin. He took a slightly different approach in each match, making up for his relative lack of size and power with enormous tactical acuity – until Tsitsipas put a stop to that with an almost faultless display on Saturday. Evans’ gutsy efforts this week were all the more praiseworthy because he had arrived in Monte Carlo on a streak of four agonising defeats in a row – all of them close and all on hard courts, which usually suit his game better. As it happened, though, he found that the lack of expectation on clay – a surface on which he had previously won only two tour-level matches in his entire career – helped to loosen his arm. “Maybe at the grand slams, on the hard [courts], I've been putting a bit too much pressure on myself,” said Evans, who will match his career-best ranking of No 26 when the next chart comes out on Monday. “When I come out on the clay, I'm more focused on my game and trying to get that right, then the result comes. There's things to take onto the grass and the hard from this week definitely.” One other admirable feature of Evans’s 2021 has been his refusal – in contrast to so many of his peers – to bemoan the difficulties caused by the pandemic. “I've not been home since before Australia [in early January], but I'm really enjoying being out and playing matches,” said Evans, who will team up with a new coach next week in Argentina’s Sebastian Prieto. “Wearing a mask is not such a big thing. We've not really had lockdowns or whatnot. We've been lucky in a sense. “It's really helped playing doubles with Neal [Skupski], to have a good friend here. I’ve got my girlfriend [Aleah] with me too. There's been a lot of issues in the world, and it's been nice to be able to forget about it.” Great Britain seal victory over Mexico in Billie Jean King Cup By Simon Briggs Katie Boulter was once again the driving force for Great Britain as they clinched a 3-1 win over Mexico, thus moving one step closer to next year’s Billie Jean King Cup finals. After a lamentable performance from Heather Watson, who had contrived to lose to the world No285 in the day’s opening rubber, Boulter landed some crushing blows to close out the tie and take her personal record in this competition to nine wins from ten matches played. There are few sights in tennis more satisfying than a player who can hit through her opponent with sheer power, ripping each ball without compromise and creating a sound like cannon-fire echoing around the hall. Boulter has committed to all-out attack in both her matches this weekend, first obliterating Marcela Zacarias in the second set of her 7-5, 6-0 win on Friday and then delivering a near-exact repeat against Guiliana Olmos on Saturday. The scoreline this time was 6-4, 6-1. To swing so freely is a real achievement — both physically and mentally — when you are carrying such expectation. Mexico were heavy underdogs in this fixture, which placed enormous pressure on Great Britain to deliver. Yesterday, Watson’s 6-3, 7-6 loss to Zacarias gave a vivid illustration of what that can do, even to a woman who was contesting her 44th rubber in this event. Once Watson had left the stage, telling reporters that “I definitely didn’t find my game today,” Boulter needed to deal with a three-hour delay as the event paused out of respect for the Royal funeral. When she did emerge, the first few games were hard-fought. Olmos looked inspired by the efforts of her team-mate Zacarias, for whom Watson was a career-best scalp. But once Boulter had established her rhythm, she was utterly dominant. She stands 5ft 11in tall, a full head higher than Zacarias and four inches above Olmos, and she applied that extra leverage with withering effect. Boulter always finds a different level in this team format, like a sprinter who discovers an extra yard of pace when carrying a relay baton. But her last appearance for Great Britain, against Kazakhstan two years ago, carried a sting in the tail. She won the decisive singles rubber only to suffer a spinal stress fracture in the process — an injury that has blighted her career ever since. Thanks to a slow recovery, and the scarcity of tournaments caused by the pandemic, Boulter’s world ranking has now dropped to a completely unrepresentative No 291. Justice would be served if her superb efforts against Mexico happened to trigger a virtuous cycle of results, and thus help her climb back towards her peak of No 82. On this evidence, she has top-50 potential. Summing up later, British captain Anne Keothavong credited Boulter for “loving the big stage”. This might sound a little odd after a tie played on Court Six at the National Tennis Centre, in front of an audience of perhaps 40 people. But we know what she meant. Keothavong also sent out a message to the other British women targeting the top 100: you can make good progress as long as you stop getting distracted. This is worthwhile advice in an age when too many young players seem to think they can pick up rankings points on Instagram. “I don’t doubt that they have the ability,” said Keothavong. “I have been around enough tennis to know which players have the potential to be competing with the very best, and we have British players who can do that. “The main thing is taking responsibility. No blaming others. No comparing. You know the hard work that’s required. There’s lots of people who can provide support if they need it. It’s there for them. They just need to grab the opportunity and get on with it and not allow themselves to be distracted by unnecessary things.” As for Great Britain’s journey to next year’s BJK Cup Finals, they will have to win another play-off in February — against an as-yet unknown opponent — to seal a place.