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Battling Brit Edmund shows fighting spirit to beat Basilashvili

By Eleanor Crooks

Kyle Edmund reached the second round of the French Open for the second successive year with a four-set win over qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The 21-year-old Yorkshireman again showed his battling qualities in a 7-6 (7/4) 6-7 (9/7) 7-5 6-1 victory that lasted two hours and 47 minutes and finished with the darkness closing.

There was not quite the drama of last year, when Andy Murray was among the crowd as Edmund defeated French qualifier Stephane Robert in five sets, but this was another impressive victory. Georgian Basilashvili is ranked outside the top 100, but came into the match on the back of a title on the second-tier Challenger circuit and three victories in qualifying.

Both men have huge forehands and they engaged in some epic rallies across two sets that did not feature a single break of serve. Edmund won the opener on a tie-break and had two set points in the second tie-break but could not take them.

It was the British No.3 who had his serve broken first in the third but he responded when Basilashvili served for the set.

The Georgian did not recover and from there lost nine of the last 10 games as Edmund set up a clash with 15th seed John Isner or Australia's John Millman.

Stan Wawrinka narrowly avoided becoming the first men's defending champion ever to lose in the first round of the French Open.

The third seed, who played the match of his life to beat Novak Djokovic in the final 12 months ago, trailed Lukas Rosol by two sets to one, but hit back to win 4-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-4 in three hours and 11 minutes.

Belfast Telegraph


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