By Jake Davies

  • Kyle Edmund [3] defeats Roberto Carballes Baena 7-5 7-5
  • Edmund vs Steve Johnson [8] | Edmund leads H2H 2-1
WINSTON-SALEM, USA – Kyle Edmund advanced to a seventh quarter-final of the season as he defeated Roberto Carballes Baena in a tight two sets victory.

 

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Kyle Edmund [3] defeats Roberto Carballes Baena 7-5 7-5

It was another positive performance from Kyle Edmund, but we saw more of his resilient side rather than his blistering best in this particular encounter. The match proved to be one of a physical battle as Roberto Carballes Baena tried to extend the rallies as much as possible, retrieved many balls from corner to corner and at times he really did frustrate Edmund with his consistency from the back of the court.

This was always going to be a tough challenge as it would require aggression from Edmund, but also a great deal of patience as he tried to dissect the game of his opponent with one forehand at a time. Edmund did manage to make that breakthrough in the eleventh game of the set as he broke serve on the one and only break point of the set and eventually served out the set with not much resistance.

Edmund’s ground game was nowhere near as solid as his previous match, but he was also coming to terms with playing a very different opponent that has very different strengths and weaknesses in comparison to Leonardo Mayer, so Edmund had to make some big adjustments tactically. Edmund missed out on a 0-40 lead at the beginning of the second set, but he kept persevering and once again raised his level at the business end of the second set, stepping inside the court on his forehand and breaking for a second time.

His Spanish opponent started to tire and as he tired, the spaces of the court started to open and that allowed Edmund to play aggressive tennis to safe targets and exploited the big gaps in the court being presented to him. Edmund would go on to win the last 12 points of the match to run away with it and now looks forward to yet another quarter-final and his first since Eastbourne.

 

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Kyle Edmund [3] vs Steve Johnson [8] H2H: Edmund leads 2-1

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Edmund’s next opponent is America’s Steve Johnson. The American has carved a very good career so far, winning four titles and having a career high of No.21 in the world and he has even won two big titles earlier this year, one on the grass in Newport and he defended his title on the fast red clay of Houston back in April.

Johnson really loves the fast conditions and has played most of his best tennis on quicker American hard courts and on the slick grass court surfaces as he can really use the pace of the court to penetrate with his big forehand side regularly.

Johnson is a much more threatening player than Carballes Baena because of his ability to finish points very quickly. He has one of the biggest forehand strokes on tour and he can romp through service games efficiently as well. Edmund essentially has to try to gradually break down the backhand side and position himself inside the baseline. The moment he allows the American to step in on his forehand, then Edmund gives himself a low percentage of chance of winning the point himself. Johnson’s backhand side is a wing that is very attackable. He predominantly uses the backhand slice and will wait in the backhand corner to run around it and hit big forehands, so that is something that Edmund will have to be aware of.

I think Edmund will just about edge this one. Edmund’s weaknesses are less glaring as they were before. The backhand has improved and he has the added bonus of being able to hit over it, which Johnson rarely does with his backhand and Edmund has also improved the confidence in his own game that he can live with the better players on tour and I think that will serve him well in the latter stages of this particular event as he chases down a first tour title.

Edmund holds a head-to-head record of 2-1 against Johnson, with one win coming at the US Open last year and the other win taking place at this very tournament in Winston-Salem this time last year.

Prediction: Edmund in straight sets

 

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