Former world no. 1 and two-time Madrid champion Novak Djokovic couldn’t find the form and consistency in the Spanish capital in 2018. Novak played well in the opening round against Kei Nishikori but hit the exit door after a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 defeat to Kyle Edmund in an hour and 42 minutes! It was the season’s sixth loss in 12 matches for Novak, as he still struggled with an elbow injury and played way below his usual level from the last seven or eight years. It was the biggest win for the Briton in his career, earning it after saving four out of seven break chances, including all three in the deciding set that proved to be crucial. Novak raised his level after losing the opening set, but those break opportunities he wasted in the decider cost him a lot. On the other hand, Kyle broke Novak at love in game nine to seal the deal and march into the third round for the first time at the Masters 1000 series.
Edmund won just two points more than Djokovic after being sidelined in the second set, and we have to give him credits for improving his backhand in the final set and coming back from 40-0 down on serve at 2-2 to gain confidence that carried him through the rest of the match. The Briton hurled a forehand winner to kick off the encounter with a break before the Serb pulled it back in the next game after Kyle’s forehand error. Serving from the sunnier side of the court, Novak hit a double fault to suffer a break and fall 3-2 down, with Kyle holding with ease in the next two service games to move 5-3 ahead.
Novak Djokovic lost to Kyle Edmund in Madrid 2018 to extend his poor run.
A backhand return winner sealed the set for the youngster in game nine, breaking Novak for the third time and looking strong to grab the first triumph over the better-ranked opponent in four clashes. Djokovic raised his level in set number two to take advantage in the rallies and push Edmund’s backhand to the limits.
The Serb lost just five points behind the initial shot and stole the rival’s serve in games one and seven for a commanding 6-2 after a service winner in that eighth game. The returners won just one point in the opening four games of the final set, and the decisive moment came at 2-2 when Kyle found himself 40-0 down on serve. He saved the first two break chances with service winners, and Novak wasted the last one with a backhand error, which would prove to be very costly. Serving at 3-4, Djokovic sprayed a forehand error to drop serve and allow Edmund to serve for the victory. Interestingly, Novak didn’t lose a point on serve before that game in the decider, and he still had to give it to Kyle despite the fact he landed every first serve in. Cold as ice, Edmund blasted four winners in the ninth game to celebrate a massive win and earn his career-best result at the Masters 1000 series at that moment.