British No 1 Kyle Edmund edged out by in-form Alex Zverev at the Italian Open

British No 1 Kyle Edmund edged out by in-form Alex Zverev at the Italian Open

Mike Dickson for the Daily Mail

Kyle Edmund went closer than anyone has done in recent weeks to stopping the runaway form of world No 3 Alex Zverev, but fell short after saving seven match points on Thursday.

The 23-year-old Yorkshireman went down 7-5, 7-6 in the third round of the Italian Open to the defending champion, losing a marathon tiebreak 13-11 in which he himself had a set point.

Had he not been on the wrong end of a forehand winner at 7-6 he would have stopped a sequence of which has seen the 21 year-old German win his previous 20 sets coming into the match.

Kyle Edmund saved seven match points before eventually losing to Alexander Zverev

Kyle Edmund saved seven match points before eventually losing to Alexander Zverev

Kyle Edmund saved seven match points before eventually losing to Alexander Zverev

It would have been an interesting decider against a seemingly fading Zverev, who won the Madrid Open last week.

As such it was a missed opportunity for Edmund, who spent much of the match underscoring his improvements of this year.

He came back from a break down in each set, but against an opponent for whom winning has become an automatic habit he could not string together the combination of points needed, once he had recovered from 3-6 down in the tiebreak.

Edmund lost 7-5, 7-6 (13-11) to the 21-year-old third seed at the Italian Open on Thursday

Edmund lost 7-5, 7-6 (13-11) to the 21-year-old third seed at the Italian Open on Thursday

Edmund lost 7-5, 7-6 (13-11) to the 21-year-old third seed at the Italian Open on Thursday

A teeming Pietrangeli court at the Foro Italico provided a wonderful atmosphere and wanted more, but he pumped a forehand wide when Zverev served on his eighth match point. Once the disappointment has dissipated, 

Edmund should move on to the French Open in reasonable heart, as will Jo Konta after a similar near miss. Both ought to be looking to make runs towards the second week at Roland Garros. 

Edmund could be among the top 16 seeds for Wimbledon following his recent run.

 

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