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The majority inside this arena
The majority inside this arena
Britain’s Kyle Edmund secured one of the biggest victories of his career by defeating the former world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Madrid Open.Edmund had never won a set in his previous three matches against Djokovic but deservedly came out
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on top in a high-quality contest lasting an hour and 42 minutes.
The 23-year-old Briton saved three break points in the deciding set to seal a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory and set up a meeting with the eighth seed, David Goffin, in the last 16. Edmund made the ideal start with a break of serve in the opening game and, although Djokovic immediately hit back, Edmund broke twice more to take
the first set.Djokovic looked to be getting back to somewhere near his best as he took the second set in style to set up a decider,
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recovered from 0-40 down in the fifth game to remain in front and then claimed the decisive break before serving out for the match.
“It was a great experience first of all to beat Novak, I’ve lost to him three times,” Edmund told Sky. “He’s a legend so your first match when you share the court is an experience but now, especially after reaching the semis of the Australian Open, it’s time to try and beat these guys and I was very pleased today
how I managed my game, especially in the third set.“After Australia I got a little bit ill and didn’t have a great run of results until I reached my first final [in Morocco] so it’s nice to come out here and beat a top player like Novak. I knew rallying with him and trying to beat him at his own game I wasn’t going to win, so it was important to be expressive.”
The win is likely to take Edmund, who has risen to British No 1 during the extended absence of Andy Murray, inside the world’s top 20 for the first time next week. “It was a goal of mine to get inside the top 20, there’s no reason why I couldn’t,” he said. “You have to set targets and I thought that was a very realistic target, so I’m pleased it’s happened. But you know the way the tennis world works, you reach a target but it doesn’t stop and you keep trying to get better.”
The majority inside this arena blanched at the concession. Antonio Conte had rested six players here with one eye on the FA Cup final and while his team’s endeavour could not be doubted, it took the introduction of the cavalry – Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard – to force parity.
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César Azpilicueta’s low centre fizzed across the six-yard box and Mathias Jørgensen, in attempting to hack it clear, succeeded only in belting the ball on to Marcos Alonso’s forehead. In it flew beyond a startled Lössl, the Spaniard just as shocked to have been rewarded in such bizarre fashion.
Yet, for all that Rüdiger would miss two appealing opportunities from close range, that was the extent of the damage the home side would inflict. Christopher Schindler was vocal and inspirational organising his back-line, Lössl excellent in goal and the Mooy and Jonathan Hogg combination in midfield snapped into challenges to disrupt the home side’s rhythm. Chelsea could find no way through and, trailing Liverpool by two points on the final afternoon, have surely now given up any lingering hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.
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