Italian Open: Kyle Edmund knocked out in first round
British interest also fell short in the doubles with defeats for Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, Joe Salisbury and Dan Evans
Last Updated: 17/09/20 11:53am
Kyle Edmund is out of the Italian Open after a first-round, 3-6 7-6 (11-9) 6-2 defeat to Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato.
The British No 2, who normally thrives on the clay, won the first set comfortably. He dropped just three points on his first serve and the early signs were wholly positive for the 25-year-old.
The second set commenced in a tighter fashion though, before rain halted play at three games apiece.
The suspension did not favour Edmund and instead his opponent returned to the court after it with a fresh impetus and vigour about his work.
Cecchinato used the match sharpness he had gained from the qualifying competition to take the set to a tie-break. Once he had secured that, he then broke Edmund in the opening game of the third set.
From there, Edmund's challenges continued as his first-serve percentage continued to drop and far too many errors arrived in his game.
Edmund was not the only high-profile name to lose in Rome as Stan Wawrinka was ousted 6-0 7-6 (7-2) by Lorenzo Musetti.
Musetti, an 18-year-old playing in just his second Tour-level match, described the result as a "dream come true".
"I didn't expect this win, but I think I deserved it," Musetti added on the ATP's website. "I played really good tennis and I enjoyed all the points of this match."
Musetti has set up a second-round encounter with Kei Nishikori.
British interest in the men's doubles also took a blow on Tuesday with three back-to-back losses out on Court 4.
Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski fell at the hands of John Peers and Michael Venus, 6-3 7-5.
After that, Brit Joe Salisbury and his partner Rajeev Ram lost to the Italian wildcards Lorenzo Sonego and Andrea Vavassori, 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 10-7.
Finally, British singles No 1 Dan Evans partnered with Grigor Dimitrov and the pair were usurped by Maximo Gonzalex and Diego Schwartzman, 5-7 6-2 10-8.
Gauff returns to winning ways
Coco Gauff arrived in Rome after two early exits in New York and was glad to get her season back on track with a victory over Ons Jabeu.
"I'm definitely happy to get a win today, especially after a couple of tough losses back in New York," Gauff said after her 6-4 6-3 win, which was her first Tour-level main draw match on clay.
"She's a tricky player because she definitely changes the ball a little bit. I knew it was going to be tough, so to get a win over her on clay was really good."
Gauff fell in the qualifying rounds of the French Open last year but says, that despite a period away from it, she feels at home on the surface.
"I haven't played on clay in over a year, but to be honest, I feel quite comfortable on clay," the world No 53 said.
"In my junior career, I had quite good results on clay and I go to Patrick Mouratoglou's tennis academy a lot. I'm quite used to the red clay."
Gauff will now face a stern test in the next round from Garbine Muguruza.
The Spaniard is a former French Open champion and showed just how much she enjoys clay by dismissing Sloane Stephens in straight sets.
Muguruza was unfazed by the rain delay which disrupted Edmund and picked up where she left off. She hit 22 winners in total and is excited to face Gauff.
"It's a good match, I've never played against her," Muguruza said on the WTA website.
"I'm looking forward to playing as many matches as possible. She's playing great and she's having a big breakthrough, so I'm looking forward to it."