British No 1 Kyle Edmund slumped to defeat despite taking a two-set lead against Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco on Centre Court at Wimbledon on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old Verdasco won a fierce-hitting contest against a physically-drained Edmund 4-6 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 6-4 to reach the third round at the All England Club for the eighth time in his career.Sponsored link
Edmund had got his campaign up and running in comfortable fashion as he beat Jaume Munar in straight sets on Monday but he suffered from both back and knee problems as Verdasco battled back to win a thrilling contest.
The British player had not had a sniff on his opponent’s serve until the 10th game of the opening set. Verdasco repelled two big forehands to save one set point but went long on the second.
Edmund began the second set by dropping serve but, after four breaks in six games, it was 3-3 and in a repeat of the opening set, Verdasco found himself under immense pressure serving at 4-5.
He saved one set point with an ace but, after double-faulting for a fourth time, Verdasco opted to leave an Edmund shot that landed plum on the line, giving him a two-set advantage.
Edmund, 24, looked in decent shape despite worry over a recurrence of his recent knee injury after an awkward slip on the baseline in the eighth game. He he did not appear to be further troubled as they headed into a tie-break in which Verdasco rallied to take it comfortably.
Edmund then received more treatment to his back ahead of the fifth set, and hopes that he could somehow rouse himself physically were dashed when Verdasco broke serve again in the third game before completing victory in three hours and 42 minutes.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Edmund denied the slip had been the cause of his downfall, instead admitting he is not fit enough.
He said: “When I slipped, I think my leg just straightened. In that moment, I felt something. I was able to play on from that.
“It was a long match, quite physical. The sort of physical intensity that I showed in the first part of the match gradually just declined. I was not able to keep that level up.