With Aljaz Bedene and Cameron Norrie going out on the third day of the US Open, Kyle Edmund becomes the sole British player left in the last major of the season following another impressive win.
The 22-year-old from Beverley overcame American Steve Johnson 7-5 6-2 7-6(4) to earn his second straight-sets win of the tournament after his earlier triumph over the 30th seeded Dutchman, Robin Haase.
It’s more of a shame really. It’s not like it’s, ‘oh, well done, you’re the last Brit’. It’s a shame that a few of us have lost early and obviously Andy was injured. Kyle Edmund
The British number two will now face young Canadian Denis Shapovalov, conqueror of Nadal in Montreal earlier this month in the third next round.
“The last two years I’ve definitely come here picking up some good form and momentum. I really feel I can be aggressive on these courts and I get rewarded. I enjoy playing here, I enjoy the surroundings and the feel of it,” Edmund said following his second victory over the American in just over a week.
Edmund is now aiming to match his performance in last year’s tournament that saw him reach the fourth round.
Edmund added: “It’s a big one to get through. I’m very happy. I came out with my level the way it was, did what I needed to do, the tactics, controlling the match.
“The first two sets, I always felt in control. The third one was big because those key points, they’re what change matches. I played some good points when I needed to in the tie-break and I’m very happy to close it out in three.”
In the absence of the injured Andy Murray, and with Johanna Konta and Heather Watson losing in round one, this is Edmund’s first experience of carrying British expectations by himself at a grand slam.
“It’s more of a shame really,” he said. “It’s not like it’s, ‘oh, well done, you’re the last Brit’. It’s a shame that a few of us have lost early and obviously Andy was injured.
“But I guess in another way it’s good there’s some more depth in British tennis that we’re able to have other people go further.”
Meanwhile his compatriot in round two, Cameron Norrie was knocked by the 12th seed Pablo Carrena Busta of Spain 6-2 6-4 6-3, while Aljaz Bedene, playing his delayed first round match, lost to the Russian Andrey Rublev 6-1 6-4 6-4.
One of the niggest shocks of the week was provided by the rising young Canadian star Denis Sapovalov who beat the eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-4 7-6(3) to advance for a showdown with Edmund.
Shapovalov, who had to qualify for the main draw, rose his hands in triumph after the Hawkeye showed that Tsonga’s final shot had sailed past the baseline.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” he said during his on court interview. “I’ve always dreamed of playing a night match on Arthur Ashe.”
Shapovalov had got off to a good start breaking the 32-year-old Tsonga to love in the opening game and the only sign of nerves came in the third set when he was broken while serving for the match before he rebounded in the tie-break.
“Serving for the third set I got a little bit tight, stopped moving my feet on a couple shots, sailed some forehands,” he said. “I just stayed calm and just waited for my next chance and took it.”