By Ros Satar

  • Kyle Edmund def. Jiri Vesely 6-4 5-7 7-6(6)
  • Faces Novak Djokovic in R2 – H2H: First meeting

MIAMI, USA – Kyle Edmund battled past Jiri Vesely for one hell of a reward – a second round match up with World No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Edmund was looking for his first ATP World Tour main draw win since his great run at the start of the season in Doha, and he had to work for it. He took advantage of a sloppy game from Vesely to break the Czech to love for the first set.

It was short lived through as Vesely hit straight back with a break at the start of the second set, forcing Edmund to snap that straight back with a break back to get things back on serve.

The pair went toe-to-toe until Vesely racked up three break points at the end of the set, before breaking and consolidating to take it into a decider. The pair gave no quarter at all in the third set, although Edmund tantalisingly flirted with a match point but Vesely held on.

The momentum switched throughout the tie-break, as Edmund lost his initial advantage as Vesely pulled out big shots when he needed them, before Edmund took the upper hand with two more match points. Vesely was not done yet, saving both before losing his serve once more to the Brit, bringing up his fourth match point in all.

As Vesely’s shot sailed long, Evans picked up a solid win and now faces Djokovic in the second round.

Kyle Edmund v Novak Djokovic [1] – First meeting

Edmund plays an aggressive game and his forehand was on fire on Wednesdy, and so too was his returns at times, getting his racquet on a blistering 130mph serve from Vesely. He will be coming up against one of the best returners in the game to boot.

Edmund is a hard-working work-in-progress and this will be a great test of not only where his game is, but where his stamina is too. While he is not playing a five setter here, where he has had the most difficulty, Djokovic has the ability to either rip through him in time for tea, or keep him out there forever and a day chasing balls.

Edmund will want to focus on his serve-forehand one-two punch, and has a good aggressive style but we did see a few howlers against Vesely and with someone like Djokovic, he will look to rush the Brit into errors.

It’s a tough test but as we saw with Bjorn Fratangelo in Indian Wells, Djokovic still has occasional moments of vulnerability, but in fairness he was coming off an eye infection and a gruelling Davis Cup. He played himself into form and raised his game against Rafael Nadal, and with Milos Raonic’s injury in the Indian Wells final, it is fair to say he was not pushed.

Edmund will do well if he pushed Djokovic to a third set.

Prediction: Djokovic in straight sets.

The Miami Open takes place between 21 March and 3 April.


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