Kyle Edmund into second round in Paris

November 1, 2017

Britain's Kyle Edmund followed his run to the semi-finals in Vienna last week by securing victory in his opening match of the Paris Masters. 

The British number three, who is hoping to secure his place in the world top 50 at the end of the year, came back from match point down to beat Evgeny Donskoy 5-7 7-6 (9-7) 6-3.

It was a testing occasion for the 22-year-old, who showed plenty of mental strength to come through the critical tie-break and then secure a third round clash against American Jack Sock. 

With Andy Murray and Johanna Konta sidelined for the rest of the season, it is a chance for some of the less celebrated Britons to grab the limelight, and Edmund has been battling to raise his game this year as he seeks to turn what is already a highly creditable career into one where he can challenge for the big prizes. If he could defeat the world number 22 Sock and have a strong run in the French capital, it would only boost his credentials further.

Edmund's run to the semi-finals in Vienna was the third time this year he has reached the last four of an ATP tournament. He had been ranked 63rd in the world before his visit to Austria and had an outstanding run there. He beat former French Open finalist David Ferrer in the opening round and then added the scalps of Dennis Novak and Jan Lennard-Struff before finally losing 7-6, 4-6, 3-6 to the eventual tournament winner Lucas Pouille in a hard-fought semi-final. 

The Beverley-based player's previous two semi-finals were at Winston-Salem in North Carolina before the US Open, and before that the Atlanta Open. In Atlanta, Edmund enjoyed a victory over Sock by winning their quarter final, before another American, Ryan Harrison, won a hard three-set encounter to deny him a place in the final. 

In Winston-Salem, Edmund had to fight through six rounds, including qualifying, to reach the last four, where he lost to Damir Dzumhur. 

A notable feature of all three semi-finals was that Edmund won the first set, suggesting that he just needs to find the consistency to follow up strong starts in order to finally make his first ATP final. 

Nonetheless, fans can certainly reflect on a year of progress, even if Edmund's ranking is not yet back to his 2016 career high of 40. As well as the three semi-finals, his year has brought wins over not just Sock and Ferrer, but Pouille in Brisbane, Marcos Baghdatis in Atlanta and Steve Johnson in Winston-Salem. While he has lost 29 times, eight of those were against players who have featured in Grand Slam finals, including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Fans booking corporate hospitality for the Championships, Wimbledon in 2018 will be hoping next year brings further steps forward for Edmund, although hopes of the big prizes will inevitably focus on Andy Murray and Konta, as well as Jamie Murray in doubles events.

The Paris Masters is also the last chance for players to qualify for the ATP World Tour finals, with two places still up for grabs and Juan Martin del Potro, David Goffin, Pablo Carreno Busta, Sam Querrey, Kevin Anderson, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Pouille all in contention. 

Image: Getty, from Keith Prowse subscription

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