By Niall Clarke
- Aljaz Bedene faces Karen Khachanov in the opening round of the Barcelona open
- Kyle Edmund faces Lukas Rosol in the Bucharest Open first round
Aljaz Bedene and Kyle Edmund are in ATP Barcelona and Bucharest action respectively as the warm up for the French Open continues.
Bedene drew Russian qualifier Karen Khachanov in the opening round, whilst Edmund will face Czech Republic’s Lukas Rosol.
The name of Edmund’s opponent will ring a bell with a lot of tennis fans as Rosol was the man who famously knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon in 2012. In one of the best underdog performances in recent years, the Czech overpowered the Spaniard on centre court.
Rosol is ranked 31 places ahead of Edmund in the ATP world rankings, but the 21 year old Brit is still showing signs of improvement. The Yorkshireman is playing his first match since his straight sets defeat to world number one Novak Djokovic in Miami. Despite the relative ease of the victory for the Serb, he was quick to praise Edmund post match.
“I didn’t know much about him, because he’s still very young,” said Djokovic.
“He has got a big forehand, with a very quick wrist motion, and he’s very strong physically. Obviously there are things he can improve on, like his movement, and he will gain more experience of playing in big matches and big stadiums.
“For his height, he still has a couple of levels to add to his serve. But in general I was positively surprised by his game, his behaviour. His attitude on and off the court is very mature.
“ He [Edmund] has the potential to step up and get to the top of the men’s game.”
Edmund has shown good form on clay in the past, but Rosol offers a powerful challenge in which he has to overcome. He could take solace from the fact that the Czech lost handily to Bedene last week so does not come into Barcelona in much form. The winner will meet defending champion Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in round two.
Bedene went on to lose to Nadal following his victory over Rosol in Monte Carlo. As always, the Brit is going steady and currently ranks at 60 in the world.
His Russian opponent is only 19 years old and came through qualifying to make the main draw. Khachanov is having his best season to date and made his career high ranking of 135 only a few weeks a go. He needed three sets in both qualifying matches however, and could be slightly fatigued heading into his opener against Bedene. The winner of this match will face Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round.
Edmund is due first on court in Bucharest at 10:30AM BST
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