Kyle Edmund recorded the biggest victory of his promising career to date as he defeated the world number 18 Gilles Simon at the Aegon Championships.
Edmund’s career has shown an upwards trajectory in 2016, with the 21-year-old from Beverly breaking into the top 100 for the first time and winning his first Masters 1000 match in Miami back in April.
The British number three can now add his first victory over a top 20 player to his list of landmarks, after a 6-4 3-6 6-1 victory over the eighth seed and he will now face either fellow Brit Dan Evans or Paul Henri Mathieu in the second round.
Even so this was Simon’s second tournament verdant surface following his run to the quarter-finals of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart last week - where he lost to Juan Martin Del Potro.
Aggressive start from Edmund
Yet it was Edmund who made the brighter start, as he forced the Frenchman to save a break point with a flat serve down the tee in the opening game.
It was a sign of things to come as Edmund when on the attack to win the next three games; the Brit’s potent forehand is often regarded as his best weapon, however his backhand down the line was also causing plenty of damage on the speedy surface.
Simon, who is ranked 18 in the world for a reason, has built his game around impeccable fitness and his ability to make opponents work for every point.
The Frenchman’s consistency over the past 10 years speaks for itself and he has been ranked inside the world’s top 30 five years in a row. Even so he was caught making some uncharacteristic errors in the early stages here and Edmund took full advantage.
The British number three had served well until his first serve went astray in the seventh game, allowing Simon to level at 4-4.
However with the momentum in his corner the 8th seed played was unable to capitalise, and went on to play a surprisingly slack game allowing Edmund to break before serving for the set.
Simon's experience helps level the match
Edmund continued to play offensive tennis and threatened to run away with it when he won the opening game of the second on Simon’s serve.
But the Frenchman wasn’t going to lie down easily, and pegged Edmund back immediately before he was the one who took a commanding lead.
As he often does Simon battened down the hatches, while on the other side of the net Edmund’s game showed signs of imploding - causing him to slip 2-5 behind.
With the tide seemingly turning Edmund stopped the rot before missing a break point opportunity at 3-5.
Edmund dominates after rain delay
After conceding the second set the Brit then brilliantly repelled a 0-40 situation with a combination of big serves and powerful forehands to move 2-1 ahead in third.
A brief rain shower then caused play to be suspended for about 20 minutes and on the resumption Simon served two double faults in one game to concede his serve.
The Frenchman’s challenge then evaporated quickly, as Edmund charged for the finish line to record an impressive victory and his first win at the Queens Club.