British No.3 Kyle Edmund got an important first ever victory in Delray Beach as he got past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the opening round. Mannarino, who is renowned for his outbursts and changes in temperament on a tennis court, was defaulted for hitting a ball out of the court, which led to him being penalised for a game, giving the victory to the Brit 6-3 6-0. This marked the second match in succession where Edmund won a match because his opponent got defaulted, after Denis Shapovalov struck the chair umpire in a Davis Cup match in Ottawa.
Kyle Edmund  vs Yen Hsun Lu H2H: Edmund leads 1-0
No. 8 seed Edmund will play Chinese Taipei’s Yen Hsun Lu in the second round of Delray Beach Open. Lu is miles away from his career high of No.33 in the world, but has seven wins over Top 10 players in his career, so he has a lot of experience to draw upon when playing on the ATP tour. Many will remember Lu’s surprising win over Andy Murray at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and also beating Andy Roddick at Wimbledon 2010, where he would go on to make the quarter-finals.
Lu has a very compact game in comparison to Mannarino’s elongated preparation on his forehand and backhand strokes. He has an impressive backhand, which generates a lot of pace on the faster hard courts, but the technique on his forehand side is unorthodox and can break down when put under a lot of pressure from his opponents. Edmund will have to exploit the flaws in Lu’s forehand, but will also need to focus on capitalising on Lu’s serve.
Lu’s serve is very attackable and his second serve leaves him exposed against the better returners on the tour. This match is the sort of contest where Edmund will impose himself and try to see just how great his return game can be against the not-so-great servers on the tour.
WTA Budapest – Naomi Broady vs Anna Blinkova [WC] H2H: First meeting
World No.100 Naomi Broady faces a difficult draw in Budapest, Hungary. She is in desperate need of some meaningful match-wins on the WTA tour, but faces the 2015 Wimbledon junior finalist Anna Blinkova in the opening round with a potential second round against No.1 seed Timea Babos.
Blinkova has risen up the WTA rankings ladder inside the last twelve months, winning her first WTA main draw match in Moscow in October and then competing in her first Grand Slam at the 2017 Australian Open, before losing to Karolina Pliskova in the second round.
Blinkova has an exceptional forehand and can catch fire on a tennis court, but she still has a lot of developing to do and still struggles to come to terms with the undeniable pressure of getting through important matches on both the WTA and the ITF tour.
It has been a while since Broady put together a combination of match-wins in a WTA main draw and is on the brink of leaving the Top 100 unless she gets wins at this level. Both players prefer hard courts, but the Brit’s additional experience at getting through WTA matches will support her in coming through this match against the young Russian.
Prediction: Broady in two sets.
ATP Marseille – Aljaz Bedene vs Paul-Henri Mathieu H2H: tied at 1-1
The 35-year-old Frenchman is in the twilight of his career and has not won back-to-back matches on the ATP tour since Gstaad in July 2016. Both of their previous meetings came at Queens Club, where Bedene and Mathieu share a victory each, but I think Bedene will win the 3rd instalment to this head-to-head in Marseille.
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