Photo: Susan MullaneKyle Edmund (GBR)
Weather again played havoc with the junior schedule on Wednesday, sending the players scuttling back to the sanctuary of Port Chester. For the second successive day, the singles was cancelled but two rounds of doubles were played as organisers tried to clear the schedule.
For most players, if not all of them, winning doubles matches is secondary to their singles hopes, but doubles still matters and to one Australian pair, it means more than others.
Nick Kyrgios may still be in the singles but his exploits on the doubles court in recent months have outshone anything he has managed on his own. In partnership with his compatriot Andrew Harris, he won the French Open and Wimbledon titles.
With Harris not travelling to New York, Kyrgios turned to another Australian to fill the void and Jordan Thompson has been doing a superb job so far as the pair won back-to-back matches on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals.
Thompson reached the quarter-finals of the doubles at Wimbledon in July but has already gone one better and appears not to be feeling the burden of expectation that playing with a double grand slam champion inevitably brings.
“I guess there’s a little bit of pressure on me but I try not to think about it too much,” he said. It’s been in the back of our minds about winning three in a row – for Nick – but we try not to let it get too much and he doesn’t put any pressure on me.
“I thought we played really well. It’s never easy to play two matches in two days. But our energy was good.”
The Sound Shore Indoor Tennis Centre cannot match Flushing Meadows for atmosphere, of course, but the Australians coped well with the change to win both their matches in straight sets.
“There are no crowds and it’s not as lively but there are still all the umpires and coaching support, so it’s good,” Thompson said. “But I can’t wait to play at Flushing Meadows.”
Two British pairs went out as Liam Broady and Luke Bambridge and Evan Hoyt and Joshua Ward-Hibbert were both beaten, leaving Kyle Edmund to fly the flag.
Edmund has been excelling at singles of late and will play his second-round match on Thursday, weather permitting, but he showed he can play doubles too as he and Frederic Ferreira Silva of Brazil battled into the last four.
“Obviously singles is the priority but it’s nice to just go out on the court and play without pressure and just have fun,” Edmund said.
“It’s obviously difficult (to have a change in conditions) but I actually did the same last year when I had to play two singles indoors. Sometimes you just have to do it, and it’s just about getting through it and doing the business.”
Edmund said he had received a text from Silva after Wimbledon asking if he would like to team up at Flushing Meadows and the partnership has gelled well.
“I’ve known him since I was 13, 14 at the Tennis Europe (competitions),” Edmund said. “We’ve been at tournaments together and we’re good friends off the court.”
Edmund and Silva take on Yoshihito Nishioka and Jorge Brian Panta Herreros in the semi-finals and the Briton said they were ready for the challenge.
“I played Nishioka at singles last week and won 62 62 so I know how he plays, at least on the singles court. But we’ll have to play well to win.”
Edmund has been trying to bridge the gap to the main Tour in recent months, playing in a number of Futures events, and said he had been working hard in the gym as well as with his game.
“It’s a big step up, more in physical terms,” he said. “They’re stronger and able to hit the ball harder. I’ve been making the transition since February so I think it’s been good so far.
“I’ve been putting extra work in both on and off the court. I have to play two singles matches on Thursday, if I win the first one. Hopefully I don’t go 76 in the third in the first one, but I should be OK physically.”