Playing his first game in more than 13 months after undergoing two knee surgeries last year, Federer, 39, won a tense first-set tie-break 10-8 before being beaten by world number 28 Evans at the start of the second set. .
Evans closed the second set – the first time he has taken a hit against Federer in four games – but the Swiss star managed to get past the decider with his first break of the game at 6-5.
“Dan had more energy at the end, but I was serving well and thought I played a really, really good game so I’m incredibly happy with my performance,” Federer said in his post-game on-field interview.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion will face Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open, a tournament he has won three times.
He fell to 6th in the world rankings during his absence due to injury, but said he was happy to have come through the long period of rehabilitation following last year’s surgery.
“It has been a long and difficult road for me,” he said. “I liked it, however, it was a huge challenge for me in my tennis career. Coming back to my age is not a very easy thing.
“I had a great team around me who always supported me throughout and made things a lot easier. It was worth it because I played a great game today.”
Federer is no stranger to injury returns after recovering from previous knee surgery in 2016 to win two Grand Slam titles.
The game against Evans, who has been a striking partner for Federer in recent weeks, was a close affair that could have turned either way.
The British No.1 had 3-3 break points in the third set which were saved by Federer, who in turn ended up with a 5-4 match point which was saved by Evans.
But Federer ultimately closed the contest two games later with a hard-hitting, downhill backhand that saw him secure a place in the quarter-finals.
You Can Read Also