Kyle Edmund was hoping to become the fifth British singles player to reach the third round at Wimbledon, however the promising 22-year-old couldn’t overcome talented Frenchman Gaël Monfils in sweltering conditions on Centre Court.
Edmund, the world number 50, battled well against the 16th seed before going down 7-6(1) 6-4 6-4 in 2 hours and 12 minutes.
After matching his higher ranked opponent in the opening set, Edmund’s challenge began to unhinge in a calamitous first set tie break- which he lost 7-1.
From there, without having it all his own way, Monfils showed his class to reach the third round at SW19 for the sixth time in his career.
He will now meet either compatriot Adrian Mannarino or Japan’s Yuichi Sugita before a potential fourth round clash with Novak Djokovic.
Solid start from the Brit
Despite Edmund’s rise up the rankings in the past few years, this was his first meeting with Monfils, who has never made it past the third round at Wimbledon.
Grass has never been the Frenchman’s favourite surface, however he arrived at The All England Club in good form following a run to the final at Eastbourne, where he lost to Djokovic, last week.
In contrast, Edmund, who chalked up his first ever Wimbledon win against compatriot Alex Ward in round one, had lost early in his two tune-up events, however there was little to separate the pair in a balanced first set.
Edmund had looked a little tentative on his first appearance on Centre Court, however he quickly settled into a good rhythm on serve.
The first four games lasted less than 10 minutes, before Monfils forced the first break point of the match in the fifth game.
A couple of potent first deliveries saw Edmund avert the danger and level up proceedings at three games all.
The British number two then earned three separate break point opportunities at 4-4, however he couldn’t convert any of them as the opening set went to a tie break.
Disastrous tie break sees Monfils take control
However, when it mattered most, Edmund couldn’t maintain his level, missing two consecutive routine volleys on his serve to go 3-0 down in the breaker.
A couple of forehand errors from Edmund then allowed Monfils to win four out of the next five points, as the Frenchman took the opening set in 52 minutes.
Monfils made the perfect start to the second set, racing into a 3-1 lead as Edmund’s powerful forehand went astray.
However, with support from the crowd, Edmund tightened up his game from the baseline and fought back to win the next three games.
The talented Monfils always appeared to be in control of the contest, though, and on the crucial points the Frenchman found another gear, before taking the second set 6-4.
Edmund couldn’t capitalise on a 3-0 lead in the third, as Monfils began to take command from the back of the court.
The Frenchman also demonstrated his immense skill set with a couple of forays to the net and exuberant, leaping smashes - all to the delight of the Centre Court crowd.
As for Edmund, he should learn a lot from his first Centre Court outing and will hopefully return to Wimbledon a better and more experienced player in 12 months time.