By Jed Jones

  • Kyle Edmund def. Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-4
  • Dan Evans def. Alex de Minaur 6-4, 7-6(6)
  • [3] Alexander Zverev def. Cameron Norrie 7-6(4), 6-4
MONTREAL, CANADA – Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans fought their way into the second round of the Rogers Cup, Cameron Norrie played well but was no match for the third seed Alexander Zverev.

 

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Kyle Edmund def. Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-4

The British No. 1 produced a near-perfect performance to down the in-form Australian in front of a packed crowd on Court Central. Kyle Edmund seemed to be firing on all cylinders and remained way too solid for the fluctuating talent that is Nick Kyrgios.

The two started the match strongly, exchanging holds of serves. Edmund pounced early and broke the huge Kyrgios serve at the third time of asking to gain some much needed momentum. The Brit is very good at attacking passing shots and he had to dig deep into his repertoire of them as the Australian was giving Edmund all sorts of targets at the net. Edmund stood up to the challenge and picked off many of Kyrgios’ attacking drop shots. He served the first set out with an ace.

The second set was much more evenly contested as the Australian was beginning to string points together that are worthy of the highlight reel. Nothing could separate the pair until the heavens opened and a lengthy rain delay halted play at 4-4 in the second set. Edmund remained extremely focused and immediately broke to love before serving the match out with another ace, his first win over Kyrgios.

 

Edmund v Daniil Medvedev [8] | Edmund leads H2H 2-0

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Next up for Edmund will be eighth-seeded Russian, Daniil Medvedev. The 23-year-old received a first round bye so he will be playing for the first time since his run to the final in last week’s Washington Open. The Russian lost that final to Kyrgios, the man who Edmund just defeated with relative ease so the Brit may be the favourite going into this one.

Medvedev plays a very defensive game, often waiting for his opponents to make an error. The Russian makes it seem like he can rally all day long and that takes a negative mental toll on his opponents as it is like they are playing against a wall. The balls Medvedev puts in play have virtually no pace and they are almost impossible to attack. The bad news for Edmund is that although Medvedev plays a defensive style, he also has weapons in his serve and backhand.

The good news for Edmund is that he has never lost to the Russian. The pair played on the hard courts of Winston-Salem back in 2017, and on the clay of Madrid last season. Medvedev has massively improved since then, but Edmund looked dialled in during his victory over Kyrgios.

Prediction: Edmund in straight sets.

 

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Dan Evans def. Alex de Minaur 6-4, 7-6(6)

Dan Evans in the Nature Valley Open, ATP Challenger Nottingham 2018

Dan Evans in the Nature Valley Open, ATP Challenger Nottingham 2018 | (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for LTA)

Dan Evans competed extremely well to overcome Australian No. 2 Alex de Minaur in just under two hours. The Brit is continuing to have what could be the season of his life as he earned just his third victory at Masters 1000s level.

The British No. 2 played a tactically smart match to make his opponent’s life as difficult as possible. De Minaur loves to have a consistent ball to play off as he likes to remain in a routine during each point. Evans tends not to play the same ball twice as he can mix heavy top spin with poisonous, low bouncing slices. Although his footwork is impeccable, the Australian was caught off balance on certain occasions due to Evans’ ability to change the pace of the game with ease.

Both sets were highly competitive but it was Evans who always looked a step ahead in this battle. A dramatic 14-point tiebreak went the Brit’s way and ultimately gave him the reward of Rafael Nadal in the second round.

 

Evans v Rafael Nadal [1] | First meeting

Rafael Nadal in the final of Roland Garros 2019, France

Rafael Nadal in the final of Roland Garros 2019, France | (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

If there is any player in the world that the Brit would least like to play, it would be the Spaniard.

Nadal has made a habit of breaking down right-handed players with single-handed backhands due to his extremely heavy cross court forehand (his greatest shot) which goes well above shoulder height on his opponent. Evans is also 5’9″ so he may be making contact with his backhand well above his head, so his coaching set up will have their work cut out. Evans will either have to sit back and wait for the ball to drop – which is exactly what Nadal wants – or he will need to take risks, step in and attack the ball on the rise (something he has the talent to do).

It will certainly be an uphill battle for the Brit and a good start is imperative. His opponent is 37-6 this season, has won 17 of his last 19 matches  and is the defending champion at the Rogers Cup. On top of this, the last time Nadal lost his opening match at a Masters event was back in Shanghai 2016.

Prediction: Nadal in straight sets.

 

Alexander Zverev [3] def. Cameron Norrie 7-6(4), 6-4

Cameron Norrie posted a superb fighting performance although he ultimately fell to the 2017 champion in straight sets. Alexander Zverev was forced to play to be best of his ability to wrap up the victory.

The British No. 3 went toe-to-toe with the German for the entire match and he certainly won a large portion of the Canadian crowd over with his determination. The first set had nothing in it and just one or two points in the tiebreak decided the outcome. The second set presented more of the same but Zverev ultimately showed why he is a three-time Masters 1000 champion and he elevated his game to break Norrie in the final game.

Norrie can take a lot of positives from this match as he demonstrated he can competed with the elite of the ATP Tour. Next up for Norrie will be Cincinnati next week.

Evans will face Nadal at 12pm local time on Court Central (5pm BST), Edmund is second on Banque Nationale not before 1:30pm (6:30pm BST).

 

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