By Jake Davies

  • Steve Johnson [8] defeats Kyle Edmund [3] 6-1 6-2
WINSTON-SALEM, USA – In his seventh quarter-final of the season, Kyle Edmund missed out and was well short of his best as he fell to No.8 seed Steve Johnson in straight sets in Winston-Salem.

 

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Steve Johnson [8] defeats Kyle Edmund [3] 6-1 6-2

Kyle Edmund had not even faced a single break point in his previous two matches this week, but it became obvious very early in this particular match that Edmund was not going to be able to reach those standards on serve, but most significantly off the ground as he quickly lost the first five games in a row to a motivated Johnson.

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Edmund was becoming way too impatient and reckless with his decision making. The Brit had the initial strategy swiftly worked out of consistently attacking Johnson’s backhand side in order to get the short ball and to take the floating backhand slice out of the air, but Edmund really was unwilling to build the point and looked for the outright winner way too early and that is how the unforced error count went out of control for him.

The American served out the first set comfortably and he looked inspired in trying to work this match-up out and solve the problems that he did not work out in their last two meetings at the US Open and here in Winston-Salem last year. The backhand side is realistically just a shot that Johnson uses to stay in the rally and soak up any pressure, but it was startling how often Edmund struggled when dealing with that shot.

The Brit quickly went down a break in the second set and in his first three service games of the seconds set Johnson dropped just the single point on serve, which speaks volumes as to how well Johnson was seeing the ball, but also how Edmund was not having any joy on his return of serve. The only real big opportunity for Edmund came when Johnson served for the match, where the No.8 seed hit two double faults in the one game, but held on to take the big win over a Top-20 player.

It is a disappointing end to the week for Edmund. There were positives and there were limitations to his game. The concern for Edmund will be that it was not the backhand that let him down and that it was his tennis strength that caused him real problems. He could not find the range on the forehand, which left him handicapped for a lot of the match. Hopefully Edmund can brush up his game and iron out a few problems before his US Open opener at the beginning of next week, where he will be hoping for a big run.

 

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