French Open 2018: Britain’s Kyle Edmund through to round two

Kyle Edmund
Kyle Edmund has never gone past the third round at Roland Garros
French Open 2018
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June
Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and app.

British number one Kyle Edmund reached the French Open second round for the fourth successive year with an opening win against Australian Alex de Minaur.

Edmund, who is seeded at a Grand Slam for the first time, won 6-4 6-2 6-3 at Roland Garros.

De Minaur, 19, is considered a rising star of Australian tennis, but could not cope with 16th seed Edmund’s accuracy and power.

French Open 2018: Britain’s Kyle Edmund through to round two
French Open 2018: Britain’s Kyle Edmund through to round two

The Briton will play Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics in the second round.

Fucsovics, ranked 45th in the world, progressed with a 6-3 6-3 7-6 (7-5) victory over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.

Edmund is the third Briton through to the second round in Paris, following opening victories for Cameron Norrie and Heather Watson on Monday.

Meanwhile, compatriots Ken and Neal Skupski ousted 16th seeds Mike Bryan and Sam Querrey in the men’s doubles 7-5 6-4, but Dominic Inglot and his Croatian partner Franko Skugor lost 6-4 6-3 to eighth seeds Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya.

Edmund revels under the spotlight

Edmund has enjoyed a rapid rise over the opening five months of the season, climbing to a career-high world ranking of 17 and taking the scalp of 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in Madrid.

He took over from the injured Andy Murray as the British number one in March, meaning it is the first Grand Slam since the 2006 US Open that the three-time major champion has not been ranked as the country’s leading man.

Edmund said he felt no added pressure or expectation from the dual position as a top-16 seed and Britain’s leading hope – and a ruthless performance against De Minaur bore that out.

“The way it has gone with Andy obviously not playing very much and me becoming British number one, there is just a bit more attention, media, maybe a bit more expectation from people,” he said.

“But that’s just part of the territory with sport.

“There has been a little bit more buzz around the matches, nothing complicated. It’s not like it’s my first time at a Grand Slam so you know what to expect.”

The Yorkshireman cruised to the opening set in just 29 minutes, breaking De Minaur’s opening serve and breaking again for a 4-1 lead.

A hold-to-love put Edmund within a game of the first set and, after missing a set point to break the Australian, he cleaned up on his own serve.

Edmund staved off three break points in the second set before seizing the momentum to go 3-2 and 5-4 ahead after the pair traded breaks, using his trademark thumping forehand to seal the second set.

De Minaur started to lose his temper towards the end of the second set, frustrated with his inability to build on that break of serve.

His mood was not improved when Edmund broke again in the opening game of the third set, the Briton going on to see out victory in just one hour 56 minutes.

Edmund’s experience proves too much

De Minaur has a soaring reputation on the ATP Tour after reaching his first final at the Sydney International in January, shortly after a victory over former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic on his way to the Brisbane quarter-finals.

Murray was impressed by the teenager’s performances, praising his attitude and flair during the Australian Open on social media.

So it did not look like the easiest draw for Edmund, especially on a clay surface that suits De Minaur’s sharp movement.

Edmund already had experience of beating De Minaur, however, winning in straight sets at the Estoril Open this month, and he refused to allow him back into a match that ended with the Briton winning 85% of his first-serve points and hitting 28 winners.

“I was pleased with how I managed my game,” he said.

“I did the controllables really well in terms of my game and serving well and when I am on the front foot, not laying back on the point.

“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.”


British number three Naomi Broady on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

It was a job very well done by Kyle Edmund – he played fantastically. Alex de Minaur was not an easy draw, especially on clay because he is such a good mover.

Kyle was in great form mentally as well, which is sometimes even more important.

When you’re looking to get into the second week you know you have to play the top players so you want to save energy at the start of the tournament.

If you can be as clinical as Kyle was then, it helps going forwards.

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