By Alessandro Mastroluca
- Kyle Edmund suffered a first-round loss to Filip Krajinovic in the opening ATP 250 event of the season
- The Serbian beat him for the first time after two defeats. He will face Fernando Verdasco from Spain
DOHA, QATAR – 2016 quarter-finalist Kyle Edmund began his 2020 campaign losing to Filip Krajinovic from a set up, and continues his tune-up quest next in Adelaide.
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Filip Krajinovic  def. Kyle Edmund 4-6 6-3 6-3
Kyle Edmund opened the 2020 season with a 4-6 6-3 6-3 defeat to the Serbian Filip Krajinovic in the Qatar Open first round. The World No.40, who had never beaten the Brit in two previous meetings, will face the Spaniard Fernando Verdasco for a berth in the quarter-finals of the opening ATP 250 event of the season.
Edmund encouragingly built a 3-0 lead to start the match. Gradually, Krajinovic stepped in the court, turning more consistently around the backhand to put more pressure from the back. The Brit delivered deep down-the-line forehands but struggled when he was forced to defend from the opposite side. The Serbian managed to shorten the rallies coming more consistently to the net and succeeded in breaking back to 3-4.
However, the 2017 Paris Master finalist looked in a hurry towards the end of the opening set. The number of his unforced errors, particularly when he had to hit with his feet around the service line, made the difference. Edmund completed the decisive break when his opponent was serving to stay in the set and sealed it at the fourth opportunity to end a 20-point marathon game, the longest of the match.
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Both players got broken in the opening service game of the second set. Edmund failed to live up to his expectations. He tried unconvincingly to establish his authority, he tried again and failed again, and not necessarily better. The Serbian broke again to move 4-3 ahead and changed the momentum of the match. His fluid ground-strokes helped him to retain control of the game, to use the whole court to his own advantage.
Edmund, who reached the quarter-finals in his one previous main draw appearance in Doha in 2016, began to over-hit. Doing so, the inconsistency of his ground-strokes emerged more and more clearly. It was not a coincidence that Krajinovic turned the tables when he managed to attack the Brit’s inaccurate backhand, avoiding the flat, powerful forehand. The Serbian showed confident aggression, confirmed his lead and comfortably took the match to a decider.
Two breaks marked the opening games of the third set. The World No.40 indulged in his elegant ground-strokes. He seemed to have pushed his luck as he drilled a difficult, cross-court drop-shot to save a break-point in the third game. The ball kissed the net-cord, and Edmund reacted as it was a bad omen. His body language grew increasingly negative and the pieces of his game crumbled. When he netted an easy forehand to gift his opponent another break in the sixth game, he put a virtual end to the clash.
Next up for Edmund is the new Adelaide International, where he is currently down for the qualifying rounds.
The Adelaide International takes place between 13-18 January.
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