British No 1 Kyle Edmund crashes out of the US Open in the first round after losing five-set thriller to Pablo Andujar
- Kyle Edmund’s campaign was ended in the first round for a second year running
- He could not join compatriots Johanna Konta and Dan Evans in round two
- Edmund lost 6-3, 6-7, 5-7, 7-5, 2-6 on Court No 13 at the US Open on Tuesday
The mantle of being British No 1 has never rested easily on the shoulders of Kyle Edmund, and he may be relieved of that pressure fairly soon.
On Tuesday night he clocked up another disappointing Grand Slam result, going out of the US Open first round against the lower-ranked Pablo Andujar, succumbing in five sets after a grim struggle that stretched to four hours and 21 minutes.
By the time he had trudged back to the Flushing Meadows locker rooms following a 6-3, 6-7, 5-7, 7-5, 2-6 defeat the 24-year-old Yorkshireman might have been able to catch the closing stages of Murray’s latest comeback match in the contrastingly humble setting of Mallorca.
British No 1 Kyle Edmund crashed out of the US Open in the first round on Tuesday
Edmund lost in five sets to Spaniard Pablo Andujar on Court No 13 at Flushing Meadows
Edmund, who lost in the US Open first round last year, lost 6-3, 6-7, 5-7, 7-5, 2-6 to Andujar
The twice Wimbledon champion was to score an encouraging victory, beating Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos 6-3, 6-4 to make the third round in an event hosted by Rafael Nadal’s academy. A seasoned campaigner ranked 115, Gombos made the last eight at the ATP event in Washington earlier this month.
Murray looked nimble enough after being made to wait until late into the European evening to play. His plaintive body language showed that, however small the tournament, he wants to win it as part of his plan to re-enter the orbit where he belongs.
If the 32-year-old Scot’s body allows him to make some semblance of a proper comeback it might make life easier for Edmund, whose surge to the semi-finals of the Australian Open eighteen months ago has increasingly come to feel like a cross to bear.
The 24-year-old could not join compatriots Johanna Konta and Dan Evans in round two
Since being the final Brit out of Wimbledon in the third round last summer he has only won two matches at the Majors. His ranking has only remained around No 30 because of some decent results late last season, the points from which he will soon have to defend.
Edmund has looked strangely flat year, roughly coinciding with the departure from his team of coach Frederik Rosengren. The Swede has barely been seen around the tour since but is in town to work for television in his home country and watched some of the early exchanges from the stands.
There has also been a succession of niggling injuries, often related to his knee, although prior to the tournament he described that part of his body as feeling fabulous.
Dejected afterwards, Edmund said: ‘I would have loved to have performed better but I just haven’t. I’m trying my best, it’s not through lack of effort or anything.
‘It’s very small margins. I just haven’t found a way in Grand Slam matches this year. I feel better than I did in the middle of the year.’
Andy Murray scored an encouraging victory, beating Norbert Gombos 6-3, 6-4 in Mallorca
The Yorkshireman’s play for the first set and a half was reminiscent of the best produced during his association with Rosengren, crunching groundstrokes bringing him the first set and gaining him a break for 3-2 in the second.
Andujar, ranked 70, is a highly mobile baseliner who favours the clay, and he slowly counter punched his way back as Edmund’s error count steadily grew.
The patient Spaniard plays like a human wall, but when Edmund drove through his defences to go 2-0 up in the decider he looked set for a precious victory. Instead he was broken by his lesser-ranked opponent’s ability to get the ball back in play. He ended up unwinding to lose the last six games.
The highest ranked seed in his quarter, No 4 Dominic Thiem, was simultaneously upset by Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano, but after this season it was fanciful to think that Edmund may have profited from being in an enticing part of the draw.
Dan Evans, who might overtake him in the British standings, on Wednesday evening tackles Lucas Pouille, the 25th seed from France, in the second round.
Jo Konta will open up the day programme when she plays Russia’s world No 61 Margarita Gasparyan.