Kyle Edmund  def. Alex De Minaur [WC] 6-2 6-4 6-3
If there was any doubt that British No. 1 Kyle Edmund could carry the mantle of British hops in any tournament, much less a Grand Slam, those were dispelled in fine form as he coasted past Aussie sensation from the start of the year Alex De Minaur.
Edmund, playing on his favoured surface, even kept the young’un at bay, much like an older larger brother holding a kid’s head at arm’s length while they flail around. De Minaur made the most of being on home soil for great results at Brisbane before reaching the Sydney final, but was spent by the time he got to the main draw of his home slam.
Conversely, Edmund must have wondered if he was at home. After all, he had spent Saturday in the pub watching Liverpool’s capitulation to Real Madrid (albeit a French pub – not really the same thing!) but there has been terrific British support for all four singles players in the main draw.
Edmund said, after the match: “I played pretty well today. I was happy with how it came out, having that time preparing that was over a week I have been here practicing, so I was just waiting to get going, anticipation.
“Once you get on it was good to really execute well, especially against a guy like Alex where it can get quite tough easily if you don’t play well.
“So, I was pleased with how I managed my game today. Did the controllables really well in terms of my game and serving well and, you know, when I am on the front foot not laying back on the point.”
What a difference a year can make, for both players. Last year Edmund claimed the scalp of fellow qualifier Marton Fucsovics in Winston Salem, having come through the qualifying rounds, but at the start of the year, the attention was on both players – not least of which trying to pronounce the Hungarian’s surname without sounding like an audible obscenity and getting fined.
Fucsovics has not been without a little fanfare on his part. Prior to Melbourne, he had ever won a main draw match at a Grand Slam and found himself running to the fourth round and a match up against Roger Federer.
While Edmund had the nation’s collective hearts on their mouths with a nasty tumble in the Brisbane quarter-final, Fucsovics opted for a Challenger tournament before heading to Melbourne.
While Edmund catapulted up the rankings with his run to the semi-finals, Fucsovics has continued to add a mix of the lower tier ATP Challenger events to his schedule but cometh the clay, cometh the men. One has some silverware in Geneva, and Edmund made his first ATP tour level final in Marrakech.
Perhaps the edge here has to go to Edmund, just because he has been able to play his trade a little more at the Masters’ level of the sport. Fucsovics will bring to the court a solid aggressive court, but the backhand improvements that Edmund has made to an already formidable serve-forehand combo in his arsenal gives him perhaps a slight advantage.
Edmund said: “I remember playing [Fucsovics] quite well that day. I came through qualies, so I had a bit of matches under my belt. But he improved since then, especially in Australia. Maybe fourth round against Federer.
“He won last week, so for sure he’s feeling good. But, yeah, I’m feeling good, as well. It’s just one of those matches, sort of similar approach to today, where you just have to go in there and put out your A game and see where that is.
“It’s not the first match I played, so you know what to sort of expect with the feelings going on. Always a Grand Slam is like the big tournaments for tennis players. Always wanting to do well there, and it has a little bit of extra sort of feeling to it.”
Play continues on Day 4 of Roland Garros at 11am (10am BST).
Main Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
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