Kyle Edmund was not too keen on his shocking pink kit, but very happy with his tennis after pulling off the best victory of his career against US Open finalist Kevin Anderson at the Australian Open.
It looked a horrible draw for Britain’s only male singles player, but he stepped up superbly in the absence of Scotland’s Andy Murray.
Seven months after losing to Anderson in five sets in the third round of the French Open, Edmund recovered from two sets to one down to win 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Edmund had a bad habit in 2017 of losing close matches but was near faultless at the big moments and clinched victory on his first match point after three hours and 59 minutes.
The 23-year-old said: “It’s a really good result for me. It was great to win at the end like that. There’s so many positives. Just getting through a tough match like that. Also a quality player. He had a good year last year, started this year really well.
“I’m just happy going down a set, coming back. Just overall, personal satisfaction, the hours you put in, training etc, so many things like that. Those type of results make it just really feel good, worth it basically.”
The margins are wafer thin against a big server like 6ft 8in Anderson and Edmund knew if he wanted to win he would have to take the chances he got.
In the first set it was the South African who did that, winning the final two points of the tie-break on Edmund’s serve.
But the British No.2 hit back, stepping up impressively to break in the sixth game of the second set and serving it out confidently.
A short rain break in set three helped Anderson claim the only break but Edmund made a flying start to the fourth set, breaking for 2-0 and then recovering from 0-40 in the next game.
He looked in trouble when Anderson moved 2-0 ahead in the decider but pumped his fist and roared after breaking back straight away.
And it was Edmund who held his game together better in cool and windy conditions, breaking again to lead 4-3 and serving out the victory to love.
Edmund took great satisfaction from the progress he has made since their clash at Roland Garros, where it was he who had led by two sets to one only for Anderson to come back.
He said: “I’ve been open about it. I lost a lot of close ones last year. I wanted to do better this year, especially against those top guys.
“It’s a good measure eight months on that I’m beating him in five now. I was a break down in the fifth, so it’s good that I’m taking stuff on board and learning from my experiences to turn those results around.”
Edmund saw Murray at a British Davis Cup team dinner on Friday evening and the former world No.1 will have been delighted by this result as he begins his rehabilitation following hip surgery.
As for Edmund’s pink and black Nike kit, the 23-year-old is not convinced.
“Obviously it worked,” he said. “I don’t think pink really suits me. I think if you have a better tan, it would suit you.”
Edmund next faces Uzbek Denis Istomin, who defeated Novak Djokovic in the second round 12 months ago.
Source : HeraldScotland