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Edmund's Paris run is ended as Djokovic displays his quality

 

Kyle Edmund
Kyle Edmund

By Steve Simpson

Kyle Edmund's Paris revival came to an end at the hands of Novak Djokovic yesterday.

The British No.3 had posted impressive back-to-back wins after arriving at the Rolex Paris Masters on an eight-match losing streak that stretched back to August.

But he came up against formidable opposition in Djokovic, with the 16-time Grand Slam winner coming through their third-round encounter in style, winning 7-6 (7) 6-1 for his 50th victory of 2019.

Edmund, whose ranking has crashed into the 70s, put up a fight in the first set and will still see this as a positive week as he hopes for a Davis Cup call from captain Leon Smith.

The 24-year-old hurt Djokovic with some fearsome forehand winners early on and saved two set points to send the opener to a tie-break.

He had to save four more in the decider before the Serbian eventually got the job done to take the set and go in front, seemingly breaking the spirit of Edmund who crumbled in the second.

An early Djokovic break of serve to love set the tone and he powered through six successive games to book a last-16 meeting with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

"I was feeling energy-wise better and felt more alert, just more strength, more energy, more speed," Djokovic said.

"I didn't play so well, I think, from baseline in the first set. I served well. That got me to the tie-break.

"Second set was the best set I've played so far in the tournament. Finished off with a winner, finished off with amazing return game.

"So of course the sensation is very positive. And I'm convinced that I'm headed in the right direction so that tomorrow will be even better."

Meanwhile, Gerard Pique has revealed he wants to expand the Davis Cup finals to a two-week event featuring 24 teams.

The first edition of the controversial new format, which will see 18 teams play for the trophy over a week, takes place next month at Madrid's Caja Magica.

Barcelona defender Pique's Kosmos company has provided huge financial backing for the event and persuaded the International Tennis Federation to adopt the plans despite vociferous opposition from some players and fans.

Pique and the ITF are hoping to move the event from its current position in the calendar, and the footballer has now revealed the intention is also to expand it.

He said: "It is a long-term project. It's the tennis world cup and the idea is, over time, to go to a two-week competition and 24 teams."

Rafael Nadal and Djokovic headline a strong list of team selections, but the standout absentee is Roger Federer.

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