Photo: Susan MullaneKyle Edmund (GBR)
Whisper it quietly but forty years after the last British boys’ champion at the French Open, another talent from across the channel is starting to make waves at Roland Garros.
Kyle Edmund may have been born in South Africa but moved to England aged three and was part of the team that Britain team that won the junior Davis Cup team for the first time earlier this year. On Wednesday, the 17-year-old showed he has guts to match his ability as he outlasted No 2 seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy 76 16 64 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
Edmund played an outstanding tiebreak to move ahead and after being blitzed in the second set, regrouped well to win the decider and take his place in the last eight. “I knew he was going to fight, that’s what he does, we all know that,” Edmund said. “I knew I had to work hard to win the points.
“Last year, 70 percent of my wins came on clay. I reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and last year I made the semi-finals of the US Open. The plan we set at the start of the year was to try to win (one of the grand slams).
“I got my first ATP points this year and I feel it’s helped me playing the British Futures events and going abroad to play Futures too. This tournament, I’ve just had a great win, just from the fighting, and that’s what I’ve learned to do from playing the Futures.”
Edmund, who will now play sixth seed Kimmer Copejans of Belgium, will have to carry the British flag alone after Liam Broady, the No 3 seed, lost 62 63 to American Noah Rubin. Fifth seed Filip Peliwo of Canada continued his strong form with a 63 62 win over Thiago Monteiro of Brazil.
There was a big shock in the women’s event when top seed Taylor Townsend, the Australian Open champion, was beaten 57 62 61 by Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovak Republik. The American seemed to tire as the match wore on and Schmiedlova took advantage to clinch a huge victory.
Germany’s Antonia Lottner was made to battle as she scraped past 15-year-old Canadian Francoise Abanda 26 76 63 while French wildcard Clothilde De Bernardi reached her first grand slam quarter-final by beating Swedish qualifier Rebecca Peterson 62 76.
The 17-year-old De Barnardi admitted that sometimes the pressure of playing in front of a home crowd can be difficult to cope with. “I don’t like so much the public,” she said. “I don’t like it, when I do a fault, they sigh, and when I do a winner, it’s like ooh….I prefer to concentrate and not hear this. There’s a little bit of pressure, but I’ve been playing here a lot now so I am getting used to it. Before, though, it was hard.”
After a straightforward first set, De Bernardi said she suffered from a few nerves in the second set and needed to fight hard to fend off her resilient opponent. “The second set was harder because I was not aggressive, like I normally am. Yesterday I was thinking, don’t be nervous and I did the opposite.”