After what had been a miserable spell of play for Kyle Edmund, he looks set to close out his year far more positively after picking up a second week in a row in Paris. He had been expected to get past qualifier Ricardas Berankis but given his form has been so variable it was a significant milestone, rather than adding to the millstone of a ninth straight loss.
However, Diego Schwartzman was coming in with good indoor form, having made the Vienna final, and defending points from the third round from last year.
The first set was tight and highly competitive from both players with no margins for breaking at all until the final game, where Edmund broke the Argentinian for the first set.
Edmund proved to be a tough nut for Schwartzman to crack with the only break point chances in the second set coming to the Brit, who broke for a 4-1 lead, keeping that advantage and serving the match out comfortably.
As reported by BBC Sport, he said after the match: “It was a really good performance. I was on another level from yesterday, another gear and had a lot more control. I just had something about me and as the match grew I got more and more confidence and I had a really good match.”
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Edmund might fancy a chance of an upset here. Novak Djokovic had to save set points against home crowd favourite Corentin Moutet, and admitted that he was not feeling 100%, health-wise as he bids to finish as the year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.
However, he has a champion’s mentality and can find a way to win, and Edmund can be a little predictable with his pattern of play compared to the Serbian, who arguably is one of the best returners in the business.
Edmund’s firepower with his serve and forehand combo can score free points against lesser players, but against Djokovic he will have to mix things up a lot more. Moutet was fast around the court, and while there is much improved over the years in Edmund’s game, he might have to rely more on hitting through Djokovic and dictating his own style of play rather than letting him control everything from the baseline.
This is a tough ask, but if you are going to call time on your season, testing the World No. 1 is probably the way to do it, as he and British No. 2 Cameron Norrie wait to see if they are picked for the final Davis Cup Finals slot.
Prediction: Djokovic in straight sets.
Djokovic & Edmund are scheduled on Court Central, not before 3pm (2pm GMT)
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