EASTBOURNE (Reuters) - Kyle Edmund lived up to his billing as Britain’s new top dog as he cut short Andy Murray’s comeback with a 6-4 6-4 win to reach the quarter-finals of the Eastbourne championships on Wednesday.
Edmund’s rise to 18th in the rankings has coincided with compatriot Murray’s year out with a hip injury which has seen him drop to 156th in the world.
The 23-year-old Edmund admitted that it had been a ‘weird’ feeling taking on his Davis Cup team mate and the man who had mentored him in his early days on the ATP Tour.
Murray, playing only his third match back as he tries to prove his fitness for Wimbledon, made things awkward and fought tenaciously but had no answer to Edmund’s ferocious forehand.
A service break in the opening game proved enough for Edmund in the first set and he broke twice to race into a 5-2 in the second before a late wobble.
But he held steady at 5-4 to claim his first career win against the three-times Grand Slam champion and become the first British player to beat Murray for 12 years.
“It was a bit of a tough match, mentally, playing Andy but I had to try to view it as another match,” second seed Edmund, who will play Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin next, said on court.
“I’ve looked up to Andy so much and he’s looked after me and really been good for me so it’s a bit of a weird feeling. I was a bit nervous towards the end.”
Murray moved well but could make little impression on Edmund’s serve having squandered break points in the second game of the match and he was frequently sent scampering trying to return Edmund’s venomous forehand.
He was given a standing ovation as he left the court and will now go away and make a decision about whether to play at Wimbledon where he won the title in 2013 and 2016.
In the women’s tournament the top seeds flourished in the seaside sunshine with number one Caroline Wozniacki recovering from a slow start to oust local favourite Johanna Konta 4-6 6-1 6-4 on a packed centre court.
Fourth seed Angelique Kerber thrashed American Danielle Collins 6-1 6-1 to set up a clash with seventh seed Daria Kasatkina who defeated Anastasija Sevastova 6-4 6-4.
Fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko overpowered Romanian Mihaela Buzanescu 6-1 6-2 and will face Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska who was given a walkover by former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova after the third seed withdrew with a hamstring injury.
Wozniacki will face Australian eight seed Ashleigh Barty for a place in the semi-finals.
While Wozniacki will get at least one more outing at Wimbledon warm-up event, men’s top seed Diego Schwartzman lost 4-6 6-4 7-5 to Slovakian Lukas Lacko but there were wins for third seed Denis Shapovalov and fourth seed Marco Cecchinato.
Reporting by Martyn Herman, Editing by William Maclean and Pritha Sarkar