By Ros Satar, at Roland Garros

  • Kyle Edmund [28] def. Jeremy Chardy 7-6(1) 5-7 6-4 4-6 7-5
  • Faces Pablo Cuevas next to equal his best performance(s) at Roland Garros
PARIS, FRANCE – Kyle Edmund came through a tight five-setter spread over two days to book his spot in the second round, where he will face Pablo Cuevas.

 

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Kyle Edmund [28] def. Jeremy Chardy 7-6(1) 5-7 6-4 4-6 7-5

Coming in to this match, Kyle Edmund was on the blunt end of a five-match losing streak on arguably his strongest surface. His serve-forehand one-two-punch had seemed invincible at the start of matches and then he would tail off badly for a loss.

Therefore, it was pleasing to see him take the bull by the horns from the start of the first set, breaking the Frenchman in the first set. Jeremy Chardy is not one to be intimidated by the boisterous support of the French crowd and responded thus with a break of his own to get things back on an even keel. After an initial exchange of mini-breaks, it became all one-way traffic for the Brit as he raced through the tie-break to take the first set.

It looked to be going his way again with an early break in the second set, but a long-drawn out game saw Chardy finally capitalise on his fourth attempt to take the lead, and ultimately wrapped up the set to put things back on an even keel.

Edmund was once more the aggressor in the third set, and though he was pegged back immediately, he broke the Frenchman (and quite possibly riled the crowd up still further) to take the lead once more. The momentum quickly switched though with Chardy swiftly going 1-4 up and although Edmund put up a flurry of resistance, Chardy brought things level once again.

With the light really beginning to fade, the crowd robustly booed the presence of the supervisor to call things to a close for the night at 5-5 and with the only break point chances in the decider having been squandered by the Frenchman.

Coming out the next day, Edmund knew he had to hold and although a b=vocal crowd was there for Chardy, it was not to be for the Frenchman as Edmund booked his spot in the second round – and after almost four hours of play the night before, he was done and dusted in seven minutes!

Edmund said, after the match: “Kind of the way it happened today, it’s kind of losing a little bit of emotion from yesterday just because it’s a different day and stuff. But going back to yesterday, to come through that was great for me. Very happy with it. Great fight, good character, good composure, you know, especially in an environment like that. And physically and just — it was lots of positives for me. That was great to take forward.

“Physically, after four hours in a match, you don’t have quite the same intensity. But after having a bit of a rest, I knew that I could just really go intense for — if it needed to be half an hour or 20 minutes or however long it took. But that was just my aim today was just to come out really firing and almost impose myself on him.”

 

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Edmund v Pablo Cuevas | First meeting

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Edmund will be relieved to have had that rest day, as he will face a decent clay courter who has plenty of the terre battue between his toes. Where Edmund’s season was a litany of errors and a rash of losses, Pablo Cuevas started inauspiciously enough with an opening loss in Houston before winning the Tunis Challenger, reaching the quarter-final in Budapest, the final in Estoril and winning the Aix en Provence Challenger. He finally seemed to run out of steam in Lyon with a second-round loss, but he was on and off the court with comparative ease compared to Edmund in his first round match.

When Edmund is in full flow, the one-two punch combination can leave his opponents reeling. He has improved a lot of elements in his game since the days when physically he could not last the distance in a five setter – certainly physically if not mentally. That he came through this challenge is promising.

He will be up against a natural clay courter with a heavy topspin forehand and a single-handed backhand, which can create tricky angles and passing shots. He will look to slice and dice the Brit, so Edmund will have to look to dominate with his aggressive play from the off. This could be another real test of Edmund’s stamina, mentally and physically.

Prediction: Edmund in four sets.

Edmund and Cuevas are scheduled first on Court 6, at 11am (10am BST).

 

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