Last Briton standing Kyle Edmund, who is also his nation’s top ranked man, will hope to keep the Union Flag flying for another round at least when he takes on Bradley Klahn, who plays under the Stars and Stripes. Edmund has never been beyond the second round at Wimbledon but is in the midst of a career-best season that included a run to the last four in Melbourne. Will he reach the last 32 at the Championships for the first time or will the left-handed Klahn end British hopes?
Edmund and Klahn have never met on Tour, but they did twice face off at Futures events, with Klahn winning in Traralgon, Australia, in 2014 in straight sets and Edmund repaying that defeat in three sets later that year in Yokohama. But whilst Edmund has broken into the top 20 off the back of excellent tennis since, and has 75 Tour-level victories, Klahn has struggled to make the step up. Although he reached a career-high ranking of world #63 in 2014, the 27-year-old has just five Tour-level wins.
Path to the second round
Edmund’s French Open ended with a disappointing, but valiant, five-set defeat at the hands of Fabio Fognini in the third round. His Wimbledon preparations consisted of playing at Queen’s and in Eastbourne, winning a match at each event before exiting. His first round match at Wimbledon pitted him against the Australian qualifier Alex Bolt, who was making his Wimbledon debut. That inexperience showed despite a commendable effort and Edmund advanced comfortably 6-2 6-3 7-5.
Klahn, ranked 168th in the world, began his Wimbledon in the qualifiers at Roehampton. There he defeated Spain’s Ricardo Ojeda Lara and Antoine Hoang to reach the final round without dropping a set. He then overcame Italian veteran Simone Bolelli, also in straight sets, to reach the main draw for just the second time in his career. There the Californian rallied from a set down to upset Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 2-6 7-6 6-2 6-2, with that second set tiebreak proving decisive.
How do they match up?
Central to Edmund’s success is his forehand, which is one of the biggest in the game. Though the Yorkshireman can overplay the shot when struggling in a match, when he is feeling confident he can throw enough weight behind the shot to trouble anyone. He has also worked hard to shore up the weaknesses in his game over recent years, with his backhand now a far more dependable shot than it once was and his serve increasingly accurate. His movement and stamina have also improved.
Klahn plays his best tennis when on the front foot. Like Edmund, his forehand is his biggest weapon and whilst he lacks Edmund’s outright power from that wing, his forehand is accurate and generally used well. His backhand is less effective, although Klahn is able to step in and drive it down the line to open up the court, a shot that will serve him well against Edmund. Klahn is not a huge server, but he does swing it out wide well and managed 11 aces against Sugita.
Edmund still doesn’t look hugely comfortable on the grass, lacking the natural affinity for the surface that his predecessor as the top ranked British man, Andy Murray, displayed. But he should still have enough to get past Klahn and into the third round at Wimbledon for the first time. Klahn has no weapons to answer Edmund’s powerful forehand, and the Briton does the basics of the game better than the 27-year-old. Edmund to advance in four.