Kyle Edmund recorded one of the biggest victories of his career on Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open with victory over two-time former champion Novak Djokovic.
Edmund played with great discipline and bided his time to beat former World No. 1 Djokovic, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in one hour and 42 minutes. The World No. 22 will next face eighth-seeded Belgian David Goffin in the third round.[ALSO LIKE]
“It's a great win for me,” said Edmund. “He's a legend of the game, one of the best tennis players of all time. So, it's a really good win for me. [I’m] pleased with the way my game's developing, that I'm able to beat a player like that. It does me the world of good in lots of ways: confidence, belief. It's just a really good win for me.”
After an immediate exchange of service breaks, Edmund competed with great discipline in a business-like performance to seal the 32-minute opener, courtesy of positive play on Djokovic’s serve at 2-2 and 5-3.
Djokovic played close to his best in the second set, committing just three unforced errors and giving Edmund little time with breaks in the first and seventh games. The 10th seed won 87 per cent of his first serves in the 35-minute passage of play, which ended when Edmund struck a forehand return wide.
Djokovic was left to rue missing out on three break points on Edmund’s serve, at 0/40, in the fifth game of the decider. Having not lost a service point in three previous games, Djokovic then found himself at 3-4, 30/40 and paid the price when he hit a looping forehand long. Edmund coolly closed out to love for his 14th match win of the year.
“In the first set I was able to obviously break him twice," said Edmund. "He did a similar thing in the second set. I knew that the first game [of the third set] was important after he held and took the [second] set. So [I was] making sure I was in the lead in the third set was. [It was] something I thought about, not getting broken too early.
“Basically at 4-3, I was at the tougher end to break, just because the wind was against you. Down the other end, there was more of a chance. I just sort of forced myself to go for it a bit more. Got lucky at 15/0, then hit a good backhand line I think at 30-all. I sort of forced myself to not get tight in the situation.”
"Kyle was just better in the decisive moments, and I was a bit unlucky," said Djokovic. "[At] 3-4, there were a couple of bad bounces, the lines that he hit, and the game is gone. [The] next game is new balls, and he hit all four first serves in. The match is gone. And I was pretty close but that's tennis.
"He has improved, obviously, his backhand. His forehand is obviously his weapon and he has been using it very well, backing up the serve with that forehand. He has improved his backhand down the line. [There was a] couple of important points he won with that shot today... Definitely Kyle is playing the best tennis of his life."
Did You Know?
Three days ago, Edmund captured his first ATP World Tour doubles title with Cameron Norrie at the Millennium Estoril Open.