Kyle Edmund got the better of Andy Murray in their second group match of the Schroders Battle of the Brits at Roehampton, but he was made to work hard for his second victory over the Scot in what was their fifth meeting.
“You’ve got to do so much problem-solving against him. Just staying in the match counts for a lot against him Kyle Edmund
Murray always knew it would be a tough match considering Edmund was on form earlier this year prior to the tour’s closedown in March whilst he – until Tuesday’s victory over Liam Broady – hadn’t played a competitive match since last November.
Despite that he showed the true Murray grit to defend against the blockbuster shots which Edmund, currently world ranked 44, blasted off his racket.
The pair split sets, both on tiebreaks and it was left to a Championship third set tie break to decide the 2-hour, 30-minute contest played indoors in humid and extremely hot conditions, where the Yorkshiremen edged the Scot 6-7(2) 7-6(4) 10-5.
“He keeps the ball in court, very good anticipation, different speeds,” Edmund said after completing what to that moment, the longest match of the event.
“He’s had a big operation, but he served very well and found some sharpness.
“It is not easy to hit through him, you have to build the point. You’re still playing Andy Murray. He’s won so much in his career.
“You’ve got to do so much problem-solving against him. Just staying in the match counts for a lot against him.”
Murray wasn’t downcast at suffering a defeat. “I think I did pretty well, much better than yesterday, how I hit the ball from the back of the court. It would have been nice to come through it (but) Kyle’s a tough guy to play.
“To be honest, right now I’m not bothered so much about the results. I know if my hip’s good, my tennis will get better over the next months. If I sharpen up, I’ll be playing high-level tennis.”
He then went on intimate what his schedule might be for the US Open by revealing: “More chance of playing Washington than Cincinnati because I don’t want to play back-to-back tournaments. I want to have a few more cracks at the majors.”
During the match Jamie Delgado, Murray’s coach said: “I’m very happy with the way Andy stepped up and played a lot of good tennis. He felt a little stiff this morning, but that’s to be expected. He hasn’t played in a long time.”
Earlier in the day, Ryan Peniston, the world No 393 and British No 11, provided a glimpse of the next generation which is ready to step up to the mark. Basically unknown, the Essex lefthander who stepped in following Jack Draper’s withdrawal with an abdominal problem, gave the more experienced Cameron Norrie, the British No.3, a good run-around.
He surprised Norrie with his big hitting to take the first set but when Norrie upped his game in the second, he couldn’t respond in kind and fell 3-6 6-1 10-4.
“I played really solid,” said Norrie, who faces Dan Evans next in the Greg Rusedski group. “Ryan came out firing; he really took it to me in the first set. I managed to pull it back in the second, happy in the tie-break. I knew a little bit about him, we practised the other day, and we’d both been to college in America. Definitely a crafty player.”
In the opening match of the day James Ward scored his first win of the week by dispatching Liam Broady 6-4 6-1.
He will face Murray in their final group match to see which one of them from the Tim Henman group, will Join Edmund in the semi-final line up.
In the doubles Joe Salisbury & Jonny O’Mara defeated Ryan Peniston & Dom Inglot 6-4 6-2 and Dan Evans & Lloyd Glasspool squeezed past Liam Broady & Cameron Norrie 4-6 6-3 11-9.