Australian Open: Kyle Edmund reaches first Grand Slam quarter-final

in sports •  last month

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2018 Australian Open
Dates: 15-28 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app. Live commentary on the best matches on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and online.
Kyle Edmund powered into a first Grand Slam quarter-final with a four-set win over Italy's Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open.

The British number two, ranked 49th, recovered from a slow start to win 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-2 6-3 at Melbourne Park.

Edmund, 23, trailed by a set and a break but hit 25 aces and cut down on early errors as he went on to dominate.

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He will face Australian Nick Kyrgios or Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the last eight on Tuesday.

Edmund joins Andy Murray as the only British men to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne since John Lloyd in 1985.

"Through to my first quarter-final - I am very happy," said Edmund.

"It was a close first set and I didn't feel I got the best start. He was hitting the ball very clean.

"In the second set I tried to shift the momentum and once I broke him in the last game of the second set I took control of the match."

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'Nothing really beats winning'
Two days after after a gruelling five-set contest in 40C heat, Edmund found the energy in much cooler conditions to see off the experienced Seppi and make a Grand Slam breakthrough.

The work done on his serve and return with new coach Freddie Rosengren, watching from the stands alongside Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, paid off handsomely.

"It shows I'm improving," said Edmund, who finished with 63 winners to 40 unforced errors.

"It's always good to see when results come, because that's when it really shows it's paying off.

"You can see you're improving, but nothing really beats winning and results."

Asked whether his early struggles were the result of a gruelling week that has included two five-set wins, Edmund said: "He just got off to a good start.

"Sometimes you don't win every point and don't win all the games you want to. There's some problem-solving.

"It was still reasonably physically tough out there, but I did a good job of managing it."

Edmund turns the tide
Both players were trying to reach the last eight at a major for the first time and it was Seppi, the world number 76, who looked the more likely in the early stages on Hisense Arena.

The 33-year-old was untroubled on serve and constantly pushing for the first break, deservedly taking the set in a tie-break with two sweeping backhand winners.

Edmund had treatment to his shoulder late in the first set and when he fell a break down early in the second set, his prospects looked bleak.

Instead it galvanised the Briton, who broke straight back with a forehand winner and began to assume control.

After 23 unforced errors in the first set he would make just six in the second and five in the third, gaining more control of his service games and starting to pick off winners.

By the fourth set he was teeing off at will on the Seppi second serve in particular, winning all but one of those points as the pressure on the Italian became overwhelming.

With a landmark victory in sight, Edmund simply grew stronger, forcing six break points before Seppi finally succumbed with a backhand into the net on the seventh.

An ace helped Edmund serve out in style after just short of three hours, taking his time on court over four rounds to 12 hours - making the next two days vital as he prepares for another defining contest on Tuesday.

Edmund reaching new heights - analysis
BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller at Melbourne Park

Both Edmund and Seppi played five sets in Friday's furnace, and it was the British player who looked more jaded in the opening exchanges. Only his serve was keeping him in touch, but he still found himself a set and an early break down.

But from that point on, Edmund was hugely impressive. He dramatically reduced his error count and found reserves of energy to dial up his aggression. His impressive serve made a Seppi second wind seem increasingly unlikely.

A place in the quarter-finals will guarantee Edmund a career high ranking of around 35. But of more importance right now will be the chance to dine at the top table of men's tennis as the 23-year-old savours a first ever Grand Slam quarter-final.

Where the match was won
Match stats
Edmund Seppi
25 Aces 12
3 Double faults 2
63 First serve % in 63
80 Win % on first serve 70
5/15 Break points converted 1/6
63 Winners 42
183kmh Fastest serve 178kmh
The story so far
Edmund's route to the last eight
First round: Beats Kevin Anderson 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4
Second round: Beats Denis Istomin 6-2 6-2 6-4
Third round: Beats Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7-0) 3-6 4-6 6-0 7-5
Fourth round: Beats Andreas Seppi 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-2 6-3
Edmund's Grand Slam record
Tournament Best result
Australian Open Quarter-finals (2018)
French Open Third round (2017)
Wimbledon Second round (2017)
US Open Fourth round (2016)
Who is Kyle Edmund?
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1995 but moved to Yorkshire aged three
Nicknamed Kedders, his best shot is his forehand
Turned pro in 2012 after a junior career that saw him win the Junior Davis Cup and the US Open and French Open doubles
Made his Wimbledon debut in 2013 but in five appearances has only won one match there
Was part of the Great Britain team that won the 2015 Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years
Reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time at the 2016 US Open
Yet to win a singles title, his career-high ranking came in October 2016 when he reached number 40
His first-round victory against 11th seed Anderson was his career-best victory
Now closing in on replacing injured Andy Murray as British number one

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