Kyle Edmund def. Nikoloz Basilashvili match highlights (3R)
Kyle Edmund v Nikoloz Basilashvili match highlights from round three at the Australian Open 2018
As the song goes: Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. But if one of those Englishmen is Kyle Edmund with his eyes on the fourth round of the Australian Open, then he goes out and he wins in the midday sun.
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On the hottest day of the tournament so far, Edmund sweated and struggled for three hours and 34 minutes and finally beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6(0) 3-6 4-6 6-0 7-5. It took every ounce of strength he possessed and every shred of nerve and experience he could muster but he did it. He won.
Edmund is from Yorkshire in the north of England. It is a perfectly fine county (if you like that kind of thing) but it is hardly what you might call tropical. As Kyle was doing his stuff out on Show Court 2, it was a brisk 1°C back in his hometown of Beverley (it’s in the east bit of Yorkshire). Safe to say that the playing conditions of the Melbourne summer are well outside the average Yorkshireman’s comfort zone.
Then there is that whole complexion issue. Kedders (as he is known) is blond and not so much pale skinned as translucent. He does not just apply sunscreen; he has to be varnished. And if he forgets or misses a bit, his mum gives him hell.
“I got a bit burned on Monday,” he admitted. “I didn't put enough sunscreen on then. It's my neck that gets it the worst. Because of my pale skin, I have to take responsibility. My mum gives me a lecture if I don't.”
Meanwhile, a note to those nice people from Nike. Whoever it was who thought to put a large, pale Pom in a bright pink outfit and send him out into the blinding sunshine must have been having a laugh. Kyle really was not made for pink. Not made for it at all.
In the past, Edmund had struggled with the heat. A couple of years ago here, he was playing Damir Dzumhur and as the match dragged on into five sets, our pale hero was in all sorts of bother with cramp. It was not the first time this had happened and he headed for the doctors to get a thorough check over.
As it turned out, there was nothing particularly wrong with Edmund that age and experience would not cure.
“I think it’s something you get wiser about as you get older,” he said. “You know how to manage your body a bit more and how your body works. You have more belief that your body is going to be fine.”
Funnily enough, it was outlasting Basilashvili at the French Open later that year that proved to Edmund that he was finally over his physical frailties. Now aged 23, he knows he is big enough and strong enough to withstand almost anything on a tennis court.
But all that is by the by. As this third round match warmed up, it was all about the tennis – or it was after Edmund had a medical time out after three games to sort out a tweak in his upper back. Looking as if he was out for the count, he was pummelled and manipulated by the trainer (at one point, he had Edmund in what appeared to be a wrestling hold) until, miraculously, he was good as new.
Edmund had opened up a nice little hole in the draw for himself by ousting Kevin Anderson, the No.11 seed, in the first round. This, then, was an opportunity for the world No.49 if only he could take it. And for a set, it seemed that he was ready to pounce.
With that first set squirrelled away on a tiebreak and with a break in hand in the second set, everything was going well for the pink Pom. And then it all unravelled horribly: from 3-1 up, he lost five games on the bounce and was soon a break down in the third set. His timing was not so much off as absent and nothing he tried showed any sign of working.
It all came down to the second game of the fourth set, all 20 minutes, 15 deuces and eight break points of it. Game point, deuce, break point, deuce – it felt like it would never end. But slowly, slowly Edmund started to get more break points than Basilashvili was getting game points and when the Georgian’s forehand sailed over the baseline on that eighth break point, Edmund was back in the driving seat. Basilashvili did not win a game for the rest of the set.
Saving his energy for the final push in the fifth set, the Georgian came out punching but Edmund, who lost a few tight encounters last season and who has been working and planning to try an reverse that trend, was waiting for him.
A 17th double fault from Basilashvili gave Edmund his first match point and a final backhand into the net from the Georgian gave the Yorkshireman his place in the fourth round.