Daily Mail

Pres­sure is on Djokovic, claims Kyle

- Ten­nis Cor­re­spon­dent By MIKE DICKSON Sports · Tennis · Novak Djokovic · United States of America · US Open · Alexander Bublik · Madrid · Diego Schwartzman

KYLE ED­MUND was not kid­ding when he de­scribed fac­ing No­vak Djokovic as ‘the hard­est match on tour right now’.

The Bri­tish No 2 will tonight, over the best of five sets, try to do what no man has man­aged in this trun­cated year and de­feat the im­pe­ri­ous look­ing Serb.

Ed­mund earned his shot in the second round of the US Open through an ex­cel­lent vic­tory over Alexan­der Bub­lik, which saw him come back to win 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-0.

The mer­cu­rial Kazakh was vir­tu­ally un­playable early on, but the 25-year-old from East Rid­ing rode out the storm.

Djokovic has a 24-0 record in 2020, and last week his form sur­vived even the sub­stan­tial off- court dis­trac­tions of cre­at­ing a new play­ers’ union to try to shake up the ten­nis es­tab­lish­ment.

Ed­mund (be­low) will, of course, be play­ing with house money, but he pointed out that it is not as sim­ple as go­ing out with the free­dom to ex­er­cise his blud­geon­ing fore­hand.

‘All the pres­sure is on No­vak in terms of him be­ing ex­pected to win,’ he said. ‘ That phrase “go and have a free hit” is OK, but you can’t just go and swing against Djokovic. You have to be very dis­ci­plined when you swing. You can’t just hit through him. The way he plays doesn’t al­low you to do it.

‘He’s just such a tough player to break down. I have an ag­gres­sive game, I have suc­cess break­ing peo­ple down but there is a rea­son he is world No 1.

‘It takes a lot of re­silience to play against him. It is go­ing to be a very tough match.’

In two of their last three meet­ings, Ed­mund has caused Djokovic gen­uine prob­lems, tak­ing the first set when they met at Wim­ble­don in 2018 and beat­ing him at the Madrid Open on clay ear­lier that year.

From the 33-year-old Serb’s point of view, it is not the eas­i­est second-round match-up he could have, but he has picked up quickly from where he left off be­fore lock­down.

Bri­tish No 3 Cam Nor­rie, who knocked out ninth seed Diego Schwartz­man in the first round, faces an­other Ar­gen­tine, the world No 103 Fed­erico Co­ria.

It is an ex­cel­lent chance for the 25-year- old left- han­der to reach a Grand Slam third round for the first time, and he will be look­ing to his Ar­gen­tine coach Fa­cundo Lu­gones to give him an edge.

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