French Open: Kyle Edmund loses in five sets to Fabio Fognini

Kyle Edmund in action against Fabio Fognini
Kyle Edmund in action against Fabio Fognini

A review of Saturday's action in the men’s French Open draw, where Kyle Edmund was beaten by Fabio Fognini.

Edmund out in five

Kyle Edmund crashed out of the French Open following a five-set defeat by Fabio Fognini.

The British number one, who needed lengthy treatment on a knee injury, was sent packing in the third round 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 by the Italian 18th seed.

It was a curious match, full of peaks and troughs from both players. Edmund seemed tetchier than usual, appearing distracted by camera clicks from courtside photographers as he went to serve.

Fognini is famed for his fiery temper and did not disappoint, hurling his racket against the back wall after one rally went begging - but that was fairly tame for a man thrown out of the US Open last year for his bad behaviour.

Neither player looked fully fit, either. Edmund took a tumble in the first set which may have caused the knee problem, while Fognini at one stage had to have his ankle heavily strapped.

Fabio Fognini celebrates his victory over Kyle Edmund
Fabio Fognini celebrates his victory over Kyle Edmund

A stodgy match began with Edmund breaking the Italian's serve in the first game, only to then have to contend with a lengthy delay when, at break point down, a spectator received medical treatment.

The 16th seed survived that, but then dropped serve twice as clay-court specialist Fognini took the set.

Edmund raced into a 5-1 lead in the second while Fognini's mood was put to the test when he was called for a foot fault.

But Fognini regained his composure and pulled both breaks back before Edmund called for the trainer. It seemed to do the trick, however, as the 23-year-old immediately broke to clinch the set.

Midway through the third set it was Fognini who summoned the trainer, and Edmund put his dodgy left ankle to the test by moving him all around the court in taking a 2-1 lead.

Yet whether his knee was still bothering Edmund, or fatigue was setting in, he looked sluggish in the fourth allowing Fognini to force a decider.

Fognini was becoming increasingly agitated as the fifth set progressed, either chuntering to himself, swatting imaginary balls away or complaining about the crowd.

Edmund just needed to keep his cool, it seemed. Yet when they reached 5-4, on serve, in Fognini's favour, the man from Sanremo pounced.

Two waspish forehands brought up 0-30, then Edmund missed a forehand and found himself facing three match points.

He saved the first, but sent a forehand long in the next rally and suddenly Britain's last hope in the singles draw had tumbled out.

"Always losing in five sets is tough. But I did the best I could," the 23-year-old said.

"Sometimes it's just not your day. I have been on the opposite end, winning a few five-setters, and today just losing one.

"It's always tough when you put in lots of effort and emotion. It's what you train for.

"I had my chances, he had his chances, but he just got them. I had break points in the fifth, I just couldn't get them, and when he had his break points he obviously did.

"The margin is always very small. I have won some tight matches this year and this one is a close one I have lost."

Easy for Nadal

Rafael Nadal swatted aside the latest challenge to his seemingly inexorable march towards an 11th French Open title.

The Spaniard's strength and power on his favourite surface was too much for French 27th seed Richard Gasquet in an emphatic 6-3 6-2 6-2 win.

Nadal has yet to drop a set in this year's tournament and has now won 34 consecutive sets at Roland Garros. Most observers, and probably most players, feel he is currently invincible on the clay of Paris.

However, Nadal said: "I don't know what the others think. All I know is about me.

"What I know is I go to the court, and I know that I could very well lose. I can win, I can lose. I don't come here saying 'you can't win against me'.

"Of course I have won a lot, and it can maybe influence my opponents. But that's their thing. It's their problem. I can't answer about that."

Germany's Max Marterer, the 22-year-old world number 70, is next up to have a shot at the world number one in the last 16.

"I need to take care about what's going on. I hope to be ready to play a good match," added Nadal.

"I think I'm improving, too, every day. Playing better and better. And that's my goal and my way.

"Richard is a good friend and is a nice person. We grew up together, with a lot of talk between both of us when we were kids. Now we're older, that's all.

"It was a great feeling. It was emotional thing for me to play with him here on this court."

Home hopes dashed

French 15th seed Lucas Pouille was beaten by youngster Karen Khachanov, the Russian prevailing 6-3 7-5 6-3 to earn a clash with Alex Zverev, who is seeded number two in Paris.

Zverev's older brother, Mischa, was beaten by sixth-seeded Kyle Anderson 6-1 6-7 (3/7) 6-3 7-6 (7/4) and the South African progresses to face 11th seed Dennis Schwartzman, who saw off Borna Coric 7-5 6-3 6-3.

There was further disappointment from the home crowd as Gael Monfils followed Pouille and Gasquet in heading out of the event before the second week.

Monfils won the first set of his clash with David Goffin and also led two sets to one, before the Belgian fought back to prevail 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 4-6 7-5 6-3.

Karen Khachanov
Karen Khachanov celebrates en route to victory over Lucas Pouille

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