Edmund stuns Djokovic in Madrid

Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Madrid Open yesterday as the 12-time grand slam champion lost in 3 sets to Britain's Kyle Edmund.

Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Madrid Open yesterday as the 12-time grand slam champion lost in 3 sets to Britain’s Kyle Edmund.

Edmund had not taken a set off Djokovic in 3 previous meetings but the Serb is still feeling the affects of elbow surgery and his 23-year-old opponent took full advantage.

Djokovic stormed through the second set on the Manolo Santana court and, at his best, might never have looked back, but he spurned 3 break points early in the decider and Edmund pounced to win 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

This was only the third time Edmund had beaten a player ranked as high as world No. 12 and in terms of status, Djokovic is by far his biggest scalp yet.

Edmund’s barnstorming forehand wreaked havoc throughout and it was no surprise when the winners tally showed the Briton 30-11 ahead by the time Djokovic sent a final backhand long.

Belgian David Goffin, whom Edmund lost to during Britain’s run to Davis Cup glory in 2015, now awaits in the last 16.

Djokovic, meanwhile, is left reviewing another early exit ahead of the French Open later this month. The 30-year-old has shown glimpses of his best this week but those moments have still been few and far between.

Serving to stay in the opening set, he played a dreadful game and, with 3 set points, Edmund took the first when a driving return caught the line.

Djokovic seemed hungrier in the second and was in charge from the moment he broke Edmund to lead 2-0. Another break at 4-2 meant the match would be settled in a third set.

Edmund came back from 0-40 down in the fourth game and it proved a pivotal moment as he then broke himself for 5-3 when a Djokovic forehand looped long.

Djokovic was cursing his luck after a couple of awkward bounces but Edmund would not be distracted, serving out a superb victory after an hour and 42 minutes.

It’s the sixth straight tournament in which Djokovic has failed to reach the quarterfinals. The Serb has struggled this year after saying he returned to action too quickly following the lingering right elbow injury.

Djokovic lost in the third round in Monte Carlo and in the second round in both Miami and Indian Wells. The 12th-ranked Serb also failed to advance past the last 16 at the Australian Open.

Also, top-ranked Simona Halep beat Czech Kristyna Pliskova 6-1, 6-4 to stay on track for a third straight title in Madrid, while Dane Caroline Wozniacki’s bid to return to the top of the rankings ended with a 2-6, 2-6 loss to 20th-ranked Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.

The second-ranked Wozniacki needed to win the title in Madrid to overcome Romania’s Halep for the No. 1 spot.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week’s Italian Open, saying she needs more time to be “100 percent ready to compete”.

The tournament made the announcement via Twitter.

Williams returned to the tour briefly this year after a 14-month absence to give birth to her daughter. The 23-time Grand Slam champion also withdrew from the Madrid Open and sitting out Rome puts her status for the French Open, which starts on May 27, in doubt.

Williams, a four-time Italian Open champion, has not played since her a first-round loss to Japan’s Naomi Osaka in March at the Miami Open.

Catherine Bellis takes Williams’ place in the Rome draw.

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