While Britain is enjoying a heatwave, Kyle Edmund found himself dealing with distinctly British weather in Madrid as he came through a quick turnaround from winning the Estoril doubles title (with fellow Brit Cameron Norrie) to the altitude of Madrid.
At first it looked like Russia’s Daniil Medvedev had the measure of the Brit forcing him to save two break points on his opening service game and another in the next game before the tide turned with Edmund bringing up chances of his own, converting on his third chance before serving out for the first set.
The second set was a commanding performance from the British No. 1 as he ripped through Medvedev to coast into the second round.
He said, after the match: “It was good after Portugal to obviously lose in the third set to Joao [Sousa] to come here and play well. I thought the first set was pretty even and hustling, so it’s good to get that sort of breakthrough, that mental breakthrough in the second, obviously a lot easier so it was good.”
In any other time, this would be viewed as a good ‘experience’ match to face 12-time Slam champion and two-time Madrid champion Novak Djokovic. Except, Edmund truly came of age at the start of the year with his run to the Australian Open semi-final.
While injury, then illness set him back a few tournaments, he is wearing the mantle of British No. 1 pretty well, and about that experience? Well, the last time he lost to the Madrid two-time champion was Indian Wells, over a year ago.
However, Edmund is taking nothing for granted, as far as facing a returning Djokovic is concerned.
“The time I played him he was probably the best hard-court player there was at that time. One of the best hard-court players ever n history – very tough opponent. I had a good start to the year, but clay’s a different challenge. Last time I played in Indian Wells, so over a year and a bit now so I’ve had some more experience playing at the top level, on bigger stages so hopefully that’ll help me a bit more.
“He was winning more matches back then but still the top players they don’t just lose it, they’re still very good. When you’re on court with them, they’re still top players so yeah, I mean not be winning as much as he was but still it’s going to be tough. He just beat Nishikori, so he’s not playing that badly. He’s won this [tournament] two times. He obviously what it’s like to win here. It’s going to be tough, but it will be a good opportunity for me for sure.”
He will need to have a ton of variety in his armoury, and be prepared to grind out the points, but his confidence looks high while Djokovic is still looking for perfection.
Prediction: Djokovic in three sets.
Edmund and Djokovic are scheduled second on Court Manolo Santana, not before 2pm (1pm BST).
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