Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Tennis

Australian Open: Kyle Edmund handles heat as Nadal and Djokovic progress

By Tom Allnutt

Kyle Edmund made it three British men into the Australian Open second round by sailing past Colombian Santiago Giraldo in straight sets.

Edmund had fallen at the first hurdle in Melbourne on both of his two previous attempts but the 22-year-old outclassed Giraldo to win 6-2 7-5 6-3.

He joins compatriots Andy Murray and Dan Evans in round two and will meet Pablo Carreno Busta, the Spanish 30th seed and beneficiary of a fifth-set retirement from Canadian Peter Polansky.

Busta beat Edmund comfortably when they met at a Futures event in Spain three years ago but the Briton has improved since then and will carry a genuine threat of an upset.

This time 12 months ago, Edmund wilted in the heat, crippled by cramp in a five-set defeat to little-known Bosnian Damir Dzumhur. Another bout of pre-season in Miami with Murray appears to have done the trick, however.

"Last year was a very different scenario, so it was nice to concentrate on my tennis and let my body take care of me," said Edmund.

Rafael Nadal had to apologise for his Mallorcan time-keeping but there was nothing sloppy about the Spaniard's tennis as he swept aside Florian Mayer.

After defeating Mayer 6-3 6-4 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena, Nadal came into his press conference staring at his watch.

"I was checking how late I am," he said. "I am always late.

"In Mallorca, there is a thing, only when we are going we say, 'I am coming'. It is tough to be 100 per cent on time on an island."

Nadal hit 39 winners in total and was never broken, with his first serve finding its mark an impressive 70 per cent of the time. He will now face Cyprus' Marcos Baghdatis.

World No.2 Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic both made it through.

Raonic cruised past German Dustin Brown 6-3 6-4 6-2 and Djokovic defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-1 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

Djokovic had fended off five match points against Verdasco in Doha two weeks ago but the No.2 seed endured no such problems this time.

"It was good that I got a very tough first-round match," Djokovic said. "It made me prepare better and approach this match and the tournament with the right intensity, right out from the blocks, right from the first point."

Croatia's Ivo Karlovic won the longest fifth set in the history of Australian Open singles to beat Horacio Zeballos 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 7-5 6-2 22-20.

Karlovic delivered 75 aces, which also smashed the tournament's previous record of 51 set by Thomas Johansson in 2005.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph