South African Kevin Anderson was never going to be one of the n Open’s major drawcards but, as a US Open finalist, it had been hoped he would still be alive come the second week.
That won’t be the case, with Anderson, seeded 11, losing to Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 in nearly five hours on Monday.
Edmund is the only British player in the men’s singles after Andy Murray’s withdrawal because of a hip injury, and he showed great fight while unsettling his big-serving opponent.
Ranked No.49 in the world, Edmund has had ankle issues but he showed no troubles with his dash and poise around show court three, claiming the best win of his career.
“It was great to win at the end like that … so many positive reasons. (He) is a quality player, had a good year last year, started the year this year really well,” Edmund said.
“The personal satisfaction, the hours you put in, training … those type of results make it just really feel good, worth it basically.”
The 22-year-old twice rebounded from a set down and fell behind 2-0 in the final set to claw his way to victory. He was able to tame Anderson’s primary weapon – his serve.
“He just serves himself out of trouble so much – very difficult to read it. So when you get a racquet on the ball, it really has to go in the court,” Edmund said.
“I thought I did a pretty good job. I’m always picky. Some returns I would have liked to have done better at stages. I think when I needed to, I got the ball in play as much as I could.”
Edmund required treatment on his right shoulder in the fifth set but was able to secure victory.
“I just wanted some hot cream on it – seems to relax it a bit or warm it up a bit … but it was fine,” he said.
This result reversed their last meeting in the third round of the 2017 French Open, when Anderson prevailing in five sets.
Edmund will face Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin in the second round.
“He’s, obviously, one of those guys that’s always really solid, really professional, always around the same ranking. You know what you’re going to get with him,” he said.