Rule Britannia: Edmund carries Britain’s hopes in Melbourne
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Kyle Edmund is helping British tennis fans forget that Andy Murray was an injury no-show at the Australian Open.
Edmund advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time — his best Grand Slam singles result — with a 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 win Sunday over 33-year-old Andreas Seppi, a player 10 years his senior.
In mentioning Edmund, the statistics sheets at Melbourne Park were full of references to Murray, the five-time losing finalist here and three-time Grand Slam champion who pulled out of the season-opening major to have hip surgery.
The Johannesburg-born Edmund is the first British man other than Murray to reach the quarterfinals here since John Lloyd was beaten in the quarters in 1985.
He is the eighth British man to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era, but he has a ways to go to catch Murray’s 30 appearances.
Pretty good for Brit not named Murray to get this far, and he’s noticing the extra attention.
“I guess maybe more messages on social media and stuff or whatever ... there’s obviously a bit more attention the more matches you win,” he said. “That’s obviously encouraging.”
With a current ATP ranking of 49, Edmund is clearly a work in progress, but heading in the right direction. He’s already notched five-set wins over U.S. Open finalist Kevin Anderson in the first round here and Nikoloz Basilashvili in the third. His win against No. 12-ranked Anderson was a career-best performance.
He can’t pinpoint any major physical changes he’s made to his game, so perhaps it’s all mental.
“I’m making better decisions in the moments I need to, or playing smarter tennis,” Edmund said. “It’s a very small margin and balance between winning and losing. It’s always been like that.”
Seppi was impressed.
“He played very well, really picked up the pace in the third and fourth sets,” said Seppi, who received treatment in the final set for a right shoulder ailment. “It was an impressive performance.”
Edmond’s quarterfinal opponent will be third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Nick Kyrgios in four sets later Sunday. Dimitrov beat Edmond at the Brisbane International in three sets to start the year.
“I just played Kyle two weeks ago,” Dimitrov said. “I switched it on today, and hopefully next match I can do better.”
Edmund said he’ll take some confidence from his tight loss in Brisbane, where Kyrgios beat Dimitrov in the semifinals en route to the title.
“I played well ... of course, we can take things from that,” he said. “Maybe a few things I could do better, and I will try and do that.”