Britain’s Kyle Edmund secured one of the biggest wins of his career by beating former world no.1 Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open.
Edmund had never won a set in his previous three matches against the Serb, but deservedly came out on top in a high-quality encounter. He recorded a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory over the 10th seed in one hour and 42 minutes.
Novak, the two-time former Madrid Masters champion, suffered an early break but responded immediately to level. However, the Brit seized the momentum from Djokovic again, and with two more breaks of serve, in the fifth and ninth games, sealed the opening set.
Novak regrouped in time and hit back strongly in the second set, playing close to his best. He broke twice to force a decider.
Unfortunately, after failing to convert three break point chances at 0/40 in the fifth game, the Belgrade native was broken three games later. Edmund served it out to advance into the last 16, where he will meet Belgium’s David Goffin.
“Kyle was just better in the decisive moments, and I was a bit unlucky,” said Djokovic. “At 3-4, there were a couple of bad bounces, the lines that he hit, and the game is gone. The next game is new balls, and he hit all four first serves in. The match is gone. And I was pretty close but that’s tennis. He has improved his backhand. His forehand is obviously his weapon and he has been using it very well, backing up the serve with it. He’s improved his backhand down the line. There was a couple of important points he won with that shot today… Definitely Kyle is playing the best tennis of his life.”
Match statistics: aces (2-5), double faults (2-2), winners (11-30), unforced errors (23-29), total points won (68-70).
Next tournament for Novak will be the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (May 13-20).
The four-time former titlist finished runner-up at the Rome Masters last year, following a 4-6, 3-6 defeat to Alexander Zverev in the final.