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US Open: Kyle Edmund's belief soars to new heights despite loss to Novak Djokovic

By Tom Allnutt

Published 06/09/2016

Net gains: Kyle Edmund reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the US Open, claiming some big scalps along the way
Net gains: Kyle Edmund reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the US Open, claiming some big scalps along the way

Kyle Edmund insists he will take great belief from his run to the US Open's last 16 despite his campaign ending with a heavy defeat to Novak Djokovic.

Edmund was playing in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time and making his debut in Arthur Ashe Stadium but Djokovic taught the youngster a lesson with a 6-2 6-1 6-4 victory.

The 21-year-old was outclassed by the World No.1 but remained upbeat after enjoying a tournament that saw him knock out Richard Gasquet and John Isner, ranked 15th and 21st respectively.

In between, Edmund eased past the United States' in-form wildcard Ernesto Escobedo in straight sets.

"It's given me a lot more belief in my game," Edmund said. "Not that I didn't believe in my game but it's nice to actually do it on a big stage against two great players and a guy that was playing well.

"So three good wins - different styles, different games. It's nice to know you can come out and adapt to situations.

"I'm getting better and better at that. And to win three best-of-five sets in a row, I've never done that in my career."

Extending his run against Djokovic was always going to be a formidable task but, in front of a packed-out 23,700 crowd, the British No.4 looked overawed and struggled to show his best.

"I think it's exciting nerves," Edmund said. "It's a little bit of an unknown as well because I've never played a match on that court in front of that crowd, so it's a new experience for me.

"You're just anxious because you want to go and experience it. That's what I was looking forward to. Also, the challenge of playing the World No.1, you know it's going to be tough when you go out there."

Nevertheless, Edmund is set to reach the edge of the top 50 on the back of his results in New York and he carries great momentum into Britain's Davis Cup semi-final against Argentina later this month.

Djokovic had met the Yorkshireman in Miami earlier this year and he also felt his opponent had struggled to do his talent justice.

"I think he was overwhelmed by the stag," Djokovic said. "He hasn't played at the level he can but his forehand is really big.

"When he sets it up very nicely, he can hit a very good forehand from all over the court.

"He beat Gasquet, he beat Isner. For someone his age he's showing mental maturity. He's getting things together. I am sure we are going to see more of him."

Djokovic erased any doubts about his rhythm after he enjoyed the best part of a week off following walkovers in rounds two and three.

But questions about the top seed's fitness remain unanswered after he again took treatment on a sore right elbow at the start of the third set.

After the match Djokovic insisted "everything is fine" and that he did not feel any pain, but he may be given a stiffer examination by the powerful Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals.

"I'm feeling very good," Djokovic said. "I really wanted to start the match well because I didn't have much time on the court overall before the fourth round. Considering I had some struggles before the tournament, I feel great at this moment physically. Mentally as well, I'm motivated.

"So coming into the second week of a Grand Slam and the quarter-finals feeling good, it's exactly where I want to be."

Belfast Telegraph

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