02182018

Edmund reaches first Grand Slam quarter-final

Kyle Edmund's serve was a potent weapon throughout the match

Kyle Edmund’s serve was a potent weapon throughout the match

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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