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Edmund confident he can build on his biggest victory to progress even further

By Tom Allnutt

Kyle Edmund hailed the greatest win of his career after he stunned 13th seed Richard Gasquet in the first round of the US Open.

Edmund was playing his first ever match in the main draw at Flushing Meadows but it was the 21-year-old who looked the seasoned campaigner, thrashing Gasquet 6-2 6-2 6-3.

He will now face American wildcard Ernesto Escobedo, ranked 201st in the world and who reached round two after his opponent Lukas Lacko retired injured.

Gasquet, a former world number seven and three-time grand slam semi-finalist, has been plagued by a recurring back problem this summer but the 30-year-old insisted afterwards he had not been hampered by injury.

Instead, Edmund was as bold from the baseline as his luminous yellow outfit, reeling off 40 winners to his opponent's 13, with his booming forehand particularly destructive.

Edmund's previous best victory, in terms of rankings at least, came at Queen's in June against then world number 18 Gilles Simon but Gasquet, placed three spots higher, is a bigger scalp both in terms of scale and stage.

"I played really well. On ranking I think yeah, it's probably my best win," Edmund said.

"And the way I went about it, the way I played, a lot of things went well.

"It's definitely one of my best wins in my career.

"It's very pleasing and very encouraging the way I played, the way I handled myself and dealt with situations."

The Briton has struggled for stamina before in extreme heat but has developed physically this year and, in temperatures of 32 degrees on Court Five, showed no signs of letting up.

Edmund also took great confidence from leading Britain, without Andy Murray, to a Davis Cup quarter-final victory over Serbia in July, but this was only his third win in 20 career matches against top 50 opponents.

"It gives you more belief, absolutely," Edmund said.

"I had a good summer. I beat some good players, I beat Simon and then had a good experience against Andy (at Queen's).

"Those matches against top players give you more experience, more confidence with your game, that you are able to take it to them.

"Especially the way I play my game, it is very much on the offensive, wanting to take it to the opponent so I have to be expressive. I have to express myself and that's the way I play."

Edmund is ranked 84th in the world but it is likely he would be higher had he not chosen to play in the Davis Cup and Olympics as neither competition offer ranking points.

"I don't know the reason why the ITF changed that," Edmund said.

"There were points last year, obviously not this year, and I would have got a nice chunk of points from Davis Cup, but it's just one of those things.

"The way I look at it is I am 21. I still do have lots of years.

"The experience from that will benefit me far more than the points in the long term."

Edmund has a very realistic chance of reaching his first grand slam third round, with his only previous match against Escobar coming in a Challenger event in Birmingham last year. Edmund won in three sets.

"I will watch a little bit of tape of him. You see a few things you pick up," Edmund said.

"It's a good opportunity. Maybe on paper he's not as high ranked as someone like Gasquet but you have to respect the opponents.

"The worst thing you can do in sport is get ahead of yourself," he added.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal is up and running at the US Open after a straight-sets win in the first round against Denis Istomin.

The 14-time Grand Slam winner won 6-1 6-4 6-2, overcoming a brief wobble in the second set to confirm his progression into the second round.

Uzbekistan's Istomin threatened to make things difficult in the second set when, for the first time, he broke Nadal's serve but the Spaniard swiftly hit back.

A brilliant forehand pass down the line helped Nadal re-establish control in the third set and the two-time US Open winner eventually cruised over the finishing line.

Belfast Telegraph


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