Australian Open 2018: Edmund comes through scorching Aussie heat to reach fourth round

The Brit came from two sets to one down to defeat Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili in five sets.

Australian Open 2018: Edmund comes through scorching Aussie heat to reach fourth round
(Photo via Getty Images/ Clive Brunskill)

In the absence of Andy Murray, Kyle Edmund has risen to the task of being Britain’s sole representative in the men’s singles at the Australian Open.

The 23-year-old from Yorkshire reached the fourth round in Melbourne for the first time in his career after beating Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili in scorching conditions at Melbourne Park.

Edmund recovered from two sets to one down to win 7-6 (7-0) 3-6 4-6 6-0 7-5, as temperatures soared to a blistering 39C.

 

Edmund digs deep to reach Round four

A victory over 11th seed Kevin Anderson in the first round has opened up the draw for the Brit, and remarkably he’ll go into his last 16 encounter as the favourite.

Edmund, the world number 49, is ranked 27 places higher than Andreas Seppi, and has become a real force in the men’s game over the last few years.

In the past, Edmund - by his own admission - has struggled to close out tight matches and suffered with cramp in best-of-five set matches.

Here, he answered both qualms emphatically, coming through in a gruelling three hours and 34 minutes.

"For the physical test it was a great, great win for me to come through like that in a Grand Slam", said Edmund after the match.

"Best-of-five sets in that kind of heat, really good for my career and my confidence going forward."

Edmund had beaten Basilashvili in their only previous meeting at the French Open in 2016.

18 months later, the Brit is a much better player, but after winning the opening set on a tie break, his level dropped significantly in sets two and three, with the heat clearly playing a factor.

 

Sweltering heat 'zaps the energy out of you'

The Brit made 62 unforced errors (70 winners) and converted just seven of his 27 break points. Ultimately, though, he found a way to win.

"Mentally, I just accepted it's going to be tough today. Physically you're probably going to be feeling not your best. That's just the way I approached it.

It was tough out there. It zaps the energy out of you", added Edmund, who could have easily buckled after falling two sets to one behind.

The pivotal moment came at the start of the fourth when Edmund broke serve after an exhausting 20-minute game, converting on his eighth break point.

19 minutes later, he’d won the next five games to level the match at a set apiece.

The decider could have gone either way, with Edmund in the advantageous position of serving first.

Serving at 5-6, Basilashvili coughed up his 17th double fault to hand Edmund a first match point, which was converted when the Georgian fired a backhand into the net.

Next up for Edmund is a meeting with Italian veteran Seppi, 33, who outlasted giant-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic in another five-setter.