By Jake Davies
- Kyle Edmund  vs Marcos Baghdatis
- Aljaz Bedene vs Rogerio Dutra Silva
- Harriet Dart [Q] vs Qiang Wang 
ATLANTA, HAMBURG & NANCHANG – Kyle Edmund, Aljaz Bedene and Harriet Dart are flying the flag this week around the world.
Kyle Edmund vs Marcos Baghdatis H2H: First meeting
It cannot be said enough how important these next few weeks are for Kyle Edmund. It feels like he is on a rocky and uncomfortable road, and the quicker he can rediscover some of his best tennis the better it will be for Edmund in the long run.
Splitting with longtime coach, Ryan Jones, came at an inopportune time, but Edmund will be looking for plenty of advice and words of wisdom from Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, before he appoints a permanent figure to take him to the next level.
It is easy to forget that Edmund is defending fourth round points at this year’s US Open. He beat some top players last year including Richard Gasquet and John Isner, before succumbing to Novak Djokovic. Edmund is a long way away from producing those wins again, but what is crucial is to gain that confidence in Atlanta to set him up nicely for the bigger US hard court series events in the weeks ahead.
Edmund first faces Marcos Baghdatis in the Atlanta first round, who made the final of the same event back in 2015, losing to Isner in the final. It is always difficult playing an opponent that feels good at an event and has played well in the past, but Edmund can strike fear into any opponent with the venom of his forehand, and I think Edmund will get the victory in this opener.
Prediction: Edmund in straight sets.
Aljaz Bedene vs Rogerio Dutra Silva H2H: Bedene leads 2-0
Aljaz Bedene has taken a very different route to Edmund. He obviously feels he needs to prioritise the many tour-level clay court events before changing surface to the US hard courts. Bedene faces Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva in his Hamburg first round. Dutra Silva predominantly plays a lot of the Challenger level events on his beloved clay courts, but picked up his first ever Top 20 win against Gael Monfils last week in Umag.
It will definitely be a challenge for Bedene, but I would still favour the British No.2 in this particular match-up.
Prediction: Bedene in straight sets.
Harriet Dart [Q] vs Qiang Wang  H2H: Wang leads 1-0
Young British player Harriet Dart has already been through some challenging times while scratching and clawing her way into the Top 300. Those difficult times will set her up for the grind of the main WTA tour, where Dart needs to be playing regular tennis in the years ahead. For now, her appearances at WTA level have been incredibly rare, but she is still only 20 years old. The Briton has the pace and explosiveness off both sides to hurt her opponents, but she already looks the part physically and has clearly been putting a lot of work into the fitness side of her tennis.
Dart made her first official WTA appearance in Eastbourne, 2015 and has waited over two years for the second chance to show what she is made of at this level in a main draw. Having advanced through the qualifying rounds, Dart will face No.4 seed Wang Qiang in the first round of the main draw. Wang possesses a powerful forehand, but the serve is a serious weakness, which can get exposed against the more ruthless players on tour.
It is hard to say how Dart handles the step up in opposition, playing a Top 60 player for the second time and coming to terms with the unfamiliar surroundings of a WTA event. This match may have come too early in her development, but if Dart keeps the match tight it will give her the world of confidence in the work she is doing on and off the court.
Prediction: Wang in straight sets.
Dart is the first to play this week, and is scheduled against Wang on Centre Court, at 5pm (10am BST).
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