Kyle Edmund blasted his way past Denis Istomin, who last year created the biggest shock of the tournament by ousting Novak Djokovic from the Australian Open.
However this year, the 31-year-old from Uzbekistan, was unable to find an answer to the powerful forehands and serves which came his way and was overwhelmed by the Briton 6-2 6-2 6-4 in 89-minutes.
I held my concentration well. I just managed my game well, regardless of what was going down his end. I was just really pleased, especially with the heat today. Kyle Edmund
Edmund produced some excellent tennis as he built on his first round five-set win over Kevin Anderson and with a winnable third round match ahead of him when he faces Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili, the British No.2 could well reach the last eight.
“It was a professional performance and doing it quickly will do me good,” Edmund said later. “The plan is to get through, whatever it takes – if it takes three or four hours then so be it, but it’s perfect really.”
He coped well in the heat and very testing conditions cheered on by his new Swedish coach Fredrik Rosengren and Davis Cup captain Leon Smith, and the contingent of British supporters watching out on Court 13.
There was a slight break when Istomin took a medical time-out for treatment on his left ankle at the end of the first set, but it didn’t break his concentration as Edmund confirmed. “I held my concentration well. I just managed my game well, regardless of what was going down his end. I was just really pleased, especially with the heat today.”
The first two days in Melbourne have been relatively comfortable but on Wednesday, the temperature rose to 31 degrees Celsius with players calling for ice towels on a regular basis. But the conditions didn’t seem to affect Edmund, the world No 46 who admitted he had not applied enough sun block in his first match but had done so this time. “I got a bit burned on Monday,” he revealed. “I didn’t put enough on then. It’s my neck that gets the worst. I know I have pale skin. I have to take responsibility. My mum gives me a lecture if I don’t.”
He pocketed the first set in 26-minutes breaking his opponent twice. He broke him twice again in the second using his forehand to great effect and then broke him yet again, this time to love, in the third game of the third.
Istomin did not have a break point in the whole match, but he pushed hard in the third set keeping Edmund honest and forcing him to serve out for victory.
While Edmund has produced his best run so far at the Australian Open, he has yet to match his best result at a grand slam when he made round four at the US Open two years ago.
To equal that he will have to get past Basilashvili who made the last 32 by beating Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans. The two have played before resulting in a win for Edmund in the opening round of the French Open two years ago.
“He’s a very aggressive player,” Edmund recalled. “He makes errors, but he has lots of winners. He’s a very aggressive player, a very good ball-striker.”
His win over Anderson last Monday had boosted his confidence considerably. “I’m happy with where I’m at in my game,” he admitted. “I knew going into this match that physically I was good, the way I’m hitting the ball. If he was going to beat me today, I knew I was going to put up a good fight.”