The week in Atlanta has done Kyle Edmund a world of good. He was low on confidence and in desperate need of some evidence that the work he was putting in was certainly paying off. The Briton came up short in his semi-final three-set match against Ryan Harrison, but won three tough matches versus some difficult opponents, particularly in the win against top seed and No.18 in the world, Jack Sock.
It is tough to deliver consistent match-wins in a given ATP tournament, but what is even tougher is maintaining that consistency, which Edmund is still coming to terms with. For Edmund to be as great as his potential suggests, he needs to produce positive, reliable tennis in back-to-back weeks at this level. He next faces another young up-and-comer Hyeon Chung.
Chung is the leading man in South Korean tennis. Already sitting just outside the world’s Top 50 and he has a world-class backhand that would frighten even the greatest of players on tour. He can pull off the riskier backhand down the line with ease and is renowned for the precision and depth he can deliver on his stronger wing. The key for Edmund is to stay in the crosscourt rallies with Chung with his lethal forehand, before he even thinks of attempting to play into the backhand.
Edmund should also find opportunities on the Chung second serve. It can sit up central in the service box, which will give Edmund the freedom to have his way with his opponent. Many are touting Edmund as a future Top 10 player, so this is his time to make his move into the higher echelons of the game. Decent runs in the buildup tournaments to the US Open will allow him to play with much less pressure when he is defending fourth round points in Flushing Meadows.
Prediction: Edmund in three sets
Heather Watson [Q] vs Patricia Maria Tig H2H: Tig leads 1-0
It is a joy to see Heather Watson when she is playing with a certain degree of confidence. Watson has won 9 of her last 11 matches, which includes an impressive semi-final run at Eastbourne, the third round showing in Wimbledon and now coming through the qualifying of this week’s tournament in Washington. The real concern with Watson’s progress was coming through the tight, three-set matches with the victory. Those difficult losses can take a lot out of a player both physically and mentally, and Watson was no different in that respect.
Watson has a real chance of progressing deeper in Washington as she faces Patricia Maria Tig. The Romanian has a very big serve and can win a lot of points from that single shot, but her main problem is her game management. She struggles to maintain a great level of hitting winners on a consistent basis.
Tig got a big win over Watson in the Miami first round earlier this year, but I’m giving Watson the nod in this particular match.
Prediction: Watson in three sets
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