Kyle Edmund, following three knee surgeries and after almost two year’s off court, is slowly making his comeback to the Tour having tested himself in the Mixed Doubles at Wimbledon, contested a Challenger event and clearing one round at the Citi Open, Washington, is very much on the come-back trail
There were long periods when I couldn’t see when I would be back. There were times when there was no progression, no improvement. But I was willing to exhaust all avenues to get back. Kyle Edmund
He has now advanced to the second round of the Winston-Salem Open with a 6-2 7-5 victory over Greek Lucky Loser Michail Pervolarakis.
With the win the former world No 14 has now won twice on the Tour following his return to just one loss and faces 10th seeded Frenchman, Benjamin Bonzi next as he prepares for the US Open which kicks off on Monday, an event he reached the fourth round in 2018.
“It’s extremely rewarding to be back,” the 27-year-old London-based former British No.1, currently ranked at 665 and playing under a Protected Ranking, said in Washington.
“There were long periods when I couldn’t see when I would be back. There were times when there was no progression, no improvement. But I was willing to exhaust all avenues to get back. I didn’t pick up a racket for five or six months. I just wanted to play tennis.”
Another player who is making headway on the come-back trail is Austrian Dominic Thiem who returned to the Tour last March and successfully negotiated his way past American wild card JJ Wolf for his first hard-court victory since 2021.
But it wasn’t an easy match for the former US Open Champion and world No.3 as he battled for three hours and 10-minutes to secure his 6-7(5) 7-5 7-6(6) victory after contending with a one-hour and 52-minute stop for rain and then having to fend off two match points.
“First of all I’m super happy to get that win, [my] first win on hard courts since a very long time, since March ’21, I guess. It was not easy at all today with the rain delay, coming back out there at 11:15 p.m. It was very late. I had trouble [getting] into the match again,” Thiem admitted. “But luckily I raised the level a little bit in the third-set tie-break and compared to Kitzbühel, where similar stuff happened with the rain, the luck was on my side today.”
After the lengthy rain delay at 3-2 in the third set, the players served their way into a tie-break, which Thiem led 4-1. When Wolf won five consecutive points to take a 6-4 lead, the home favourite was on the verge of victory.
But the Thiem found his best tennis with a crushing backhand winner on the first match point and a forehand winner on the second to remain in contention prior to sending down a curling forehand passing shot to clinch his victory.
“I told myself, ‘It’s 4-6, now or never,'” Thiem revealed. “I released a little bit, and it went perfectly. Four winners in a row from 4-6 to 8-6.”
Next up for Thiem is the top seeded Bulgarian, Grigor Dimitrov.
In other action the flamboyant Italian star, Fabio Fognini, defeated Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 7-5 7-5 in a rematch of the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters final to book himself a second-round meeting with Britain’s No.4, Jack Draper who as the 13th seed, received an opening round bye.
Earlier in the day, Taipei’s Chun-Hsin Tseng scored a 6-1 1-6 6-3 win over the Hungarian Lucky Loser Marton Fucsovicsto to earn a meeting against 15th seed Jaume Munar of Spain.
There were two opening-round matches that went to final-set tie-breaks with Frenchman Adrian Mannarino outlasting Australian qualifier Christpoher O’Connell 7-6(4) 6-7(3) 7-6(3) after three hours and 31-minutes, while, in an all Australian clash, James Duckwoth squeezed past Thanasi Kokkinakis 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) after two hours and 15-minutes.