Edmund & Bedene fly flag in Beijing, tough start in store for Edmund

By Jake Davies

  • Kyle Edmund vs Alexander Zverev [2]
  • Edmund is one of two British players playing at the 500 level event in Beijing
BEIJING, CHINA – The Asian swing continues with the China Open in Beijing – Kyle Edmund and Aljaz Bedene are both in the field.

Kyle Edmund vs Alexander Zverev [2] H2H: Zverev leads 1-0

The end is in sight for a lot of the tour players and for Kyle Edmund finishing in the Top 50 in back-to-back seasons will be his main priority. The British No.2 lost in the Round of 16 of the Chengdu Open to Jared Donaldson last week and has to be looking for a considerable improvement at the China Open, but his first match is one of the toughest opponents he could have faced.

Edmund got drawn against the No.2 seed and one of the NextGen stars, Alexander Zverev. The German has managed to break up the dominance of the Big Four at Masters 1000 level, with two title wins in Rome and the Canada Masters, but the remarkable achievement was beating the likes of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in order to snatch those titles.

Edmund will feel he can dictate play with his serve and forehand, but Zverev has ironed out a lot of his distinctive flaws in the last twelve months. He moves incredibly well for a man so tall and is one of the best for his height at shifting across the court. I think there are ways to expose his game by bringing him forward into the forecourt on Edmund’s terms. Zverev has improved his coverage of the net, but still looks a bit suspect when his opponent invites him forward.

The key will be who can serve the greater on the day. When Zverev first came on the tour, he coughed up a lot of double faults, he mistimed his forehand regularly, especially when pushed out wide, but he has improved all aspects of his game since then.

Zverev has his eyes on the World Tour Finals, where he almost certainly assured a place. It should be interesting to see how much the German really wants to do well at a relatively lower tour level event. This match means far more to Edmund than it does to Zverev, but I do think that Zverev has far less limitations in his movement and in his overall game in comparison to the Brit.

Prediction: Zverev in two-sets

 

Aljaz Bedene vs Marcel Granollers [Q] H2H: Granollers leads 2-1

Photo by Dave Shopland/BPI/REX/Shutterstock | Aljaz Bedene US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, New York

Marcel Granollers will be a difficult opponent for Aljaz Bedene in the first round of the China Open. The Spaniard has come out of the qualifying rounds, which included a wonderful win over the No.1 seed Borna Coric.

As of now, Granollers finds most of his success on the doubles circuit, but has been as high as No.19 in singles in 2012 and finished five straight years inside the Top 50 between 2010 and 2014.

The key for Bedene is to have his way with his greater footwork around the court and to exercise his dominance across the baseline. Granollers is renowned for his bigger serve, but also his skills in and around the net, which is backed up by his exceptional record on tour in doubles.

It should be interesting to see how Bedene plays after quite an extensive break after the US Open loss to Andrey Rublev, but I think the Brit is now much more accustomed to the level of the ATP tour and should get the win over the World No.128.

Prediction: Bedene in three sets

Bedene & Granollers are scheduled on Brad Drewett Court, not before 2pm (7am BST).

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