By Glenys Furness

  • Kyle Edmund wins title in Rome Challenger
  • Keeps the title in GB
  • Claims fifth Challenger title of his career

ROME, ITALY Kyle Edmund coasted to the challenger title, claiming the trophy in straight sets.

Edmund was the second seed in Rome and faced Estonian Jurgen Zopp in the first round. With very little difficulty the Brit dispatched Zopp in straight sets 6-4 6-3 to set up a second round against Kevin Krawetz.

The Lucky Loser had overcome his first round opponent in three sets to have the privilege of meeting the Brit in the second round. Edmund was in no mood for messing about in the second round, and once again overcame his opponent in straight sets 6-3 6-4.

Blaz Rola was the reward for Edmund in the quarter final, with the Slovenian proving to be a tougher match up for the Brit. Edmund took the first set 6-4 before Rola managed to sneak the second set 6-3. The Brit was soon back on course though, taking the set with a bagel 6-0.

In the semi final Edmund faced the home player Filippo Volandri. The Italian had not dropped a set en route to the semi final and had the crowd behind him. The Brit proved far too good for Volandri losing only five games overall to book a final place 6-4 6-1.

The final saw a potential Davis Cup rubber as Edmund faced the Serbian Filip Krajinovic. The first set was very tight and saw both going toe to toe. Inevitably the set ended in a tiebreak which the Brit dominated to take 7-2.

By the time the second set came round Edmund was flying, giving the Serbian little comfort or hope. The Brit dominated the set and served up a bagel 6-0 to win the title, his fifth Challenger title overall. The victory also kept the title in Britain as Alijaz Bedene won the title in 2015.

Edmund also played the doubles in Rome, teaming up with Frederico Ferreira Silva of Portugal. Unfortunately the Brit/Portuguese pair drew the second seeds. The experience of the seeds showed as they easily beat Edmund & Silva 6-4 6-0.

In Aix En Provence Jonny Marray paired up with Adil Shamadin for the doubles. The Brit/Canadian pairing faced a wild card pairing in the first round. Marray & Shamadin had very little difficulty in the first set taking it 6-3. The second proved a tighter affair, that went to a tiebreak. The Brit/Canadian dominated the breaker taking it 7-1.

The quarter final saw Marray & Shamadin face the Croatian pairing Nikola Mektic & Antonio Sancic. The Croatians dominated the first set as the Brit/Canadian pair were struggling to stay with them. The set went against them 6-2.

The second set was much closer as Marray & Shamadin were finally getting changes on the Croatians. Ultimately though Mektic & Sancic took the break needed to secure a place in the semi final 7-5.

Over in Busan and Dan Evans as in action. Making light work of his opponents the Brit outclassed each and everyone of them, progressing to the final without dropping a set. In the final his opponent was Konstantin Kravchuk. The Russian was lower ranked than Evans, but certainly didn’t show it.

Taking the match to Evans, the Russian broke the Brit in both sets to take the title in straight sets 6-4 6-4. An end to another fine week for the British number four. Lloyd Glasspool and Alexander Ward teamed up for the doubles.

The Brits drew the third seeds in the first round, Purav Raja & Divij Sharan. The Indians proved too good in the first set and soon took the lead 6-4. The second was closer as the Brits forced a tiebreak. Eventually the seeds edged the breaker 10-8.

On the main tours and in the qualifying event for the Rome Masters (ATP 1000 WTA Premier event) there was plenty of Brit action.

Representing the ATP side Aljaz Bedene was seeded second in qualifying and made a bad start in the first round dropping a set to the wildcard challenger Omar Giacalone. The Italian made the Brit struggle in the set before losing it 6-4.

From there the Brit stepped up and secured the second set to draw level 6-3. From there Bedene never looked in danger, securing the final set for the loss of one game to take it 6-1. In the final qualifying round the Brit was against Kenny De Schepper. The ranking differential showed as the Brit was never in danger taking the match in straight sets 6-3 6-3.

On the WTA side Laura Robson, Heather Watson and Naomi Broady were all trying to qualify. Robson lost in the first round to American Christina McHale. Robson never really got into the match and was ousted in straight sets 6-4 6-2.

Broady secured a final round spot after taking out the eleventh qualifying seed in straight sets. Saisai Zheng couldn’t do anything with the Brits game, and the Chinese player soon found herself out 6-3 6-2. Broady then faced McHale in the vital round.

The American was seeded fifth and Broady would have her work cut out to make the main draw. This proved to be the case as McHale took the first set 6-4. The Brit was not going to go away though and fought back in the second set to level the match up 6-3. Unfortunately, the American dominated the final set knocking out Broady 6-1.

Watson as third qualifying seed and the first round saw her face a wildcard. Natassja Burnett put a bit of pressure on in the first set, but the Brit managed to secure it 6-3. The Italian then strolled the second set as the Brit struggled levelling the match 6-2. Watson survived and took the final set 6-3.

In the final qualifying round the Brit faced the 16th seed Ana Konjuh. The Croatian was making life difficult for Watson but the Brit edged the first set 7-5. The second set Konjuh certainly took the game to the Brit and managed to level the match taking the set 6-4. Watson spurred into action in the final set and secured a main draw spot by taking it 6-3.

Next week Brits are in action in Rome, Bordeaux, Seoul & Helibronn.

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