Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Kyle Edmund backed up his big upset of Kevin Anderson by routing Denis Istomin to reach the third round of the Australian Open for the first time.
The British number two oozed confidence in baking conditions at Melbourne Park, not facing a single break point in a 6-2 6-2 6-4 victory to set up a clash with Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Edmund’s section of the draw was blown wide open on day one by defeats for seeds Anderson, Jack Sock, Lucas Pouille and Philipp Kohlschreiber, and it is a golden opportunity for one of the players remaining to reach a grand slam quarter-final.
On this form, there is absolutely no reason why that cannot be Edmund, who is the second highest ranked played in the section behind Yuichi Sugita of Japan.
The world number 49 was hugely satisfied with the way he addressed previous weaknesses in the victory over Anderson, particularly the steel he showed at big moments.
He did not allow Istomin the chance to put any pressure on whatsoever as Edmund set about dismantling the player who at the same stage 12 months ago knocked out Novak Djokovic in one of the great tennis upsets.
Two breaks gave Edmund the opening set, with Istomin taking a lengthy injury time-out at the changeover to have his left ankle taped.
But Edmund remained totally focused and it was a similar story in the second set, the 23-year-old dominating on serve – he lost only three points on his first delivery all match – and picking off his opponent with his huge forehand.
Istomin at least kept the damage to a single break in the third set but there was never any question of a comeback from the Uzbek and Edmund wrapped up victory in an hour and 29 minutes.
With temperatures predicted to be close to 40C over the next two days in Melbourne, it was important for Edmund to preserve as much energy as possible and he can be thoroughly satisfied with his afternoon’s work.