These two players have already played each other twice. In 2017 at Roland Garros (Kevin Anderson won in 5 sets), and in 2018 at the Australian Open (Kyle Edmund won in 5 sets).
This new match promises to be a close one.
This will be the fourth year in a row that Kyle Edmund will play this Masters 1000. He only managed to get through the first round once, in 2018 (eliminated in the second round). Last season for his first match, the British had the misfortune to cross the path of Daniil Medevedev (defeated 6-2 7-5).
For his part, Kevin Anderson has already participated in this tournament in Cincinnati 9 times. He has made it through the first round 4 times, and his best performance is a 1/8 final.
Kevin Anderson is a talented player who can beat almost anyone (“almost” I said). So, when you see that display against Edmund, you can actually tell yourself that he can win. Unfortunately, the South African hasn’t played since 12 February. We have no idea how fit he is, so we can imagine that he’s going to lack pace.
Despite his failure at the Australian Open, Kyle Edmund had an interesting first half of the season, including quarter-finals in Auckland and Acapulco, and a trophy in New York. During this forced break, the British took part in the 100% British shows (“Battle of the Brits” 1 and 2) and it went rather well for him. He won 9 of his 11 matches.
Tennis-wise, Kevin Anderson has the serve to stay safe, and the forehand to attack his opponent. He is also a mentally stable opponent, which could work in his favour (Edmund is not the strongest in this area). The British will still be able to take advantage of his talent for managing rallies from his baseline, as well as his superior physical strength to choke Anderson. And let’s not forget his effective hitting power.
Kyle Edmund, currently ranked 44th in the world, seems to me to be much more sharp for this recovery match. He also has a lot more to gain by playing the full shot. Indeed, Kevin Anderson must already have the lead at the US Open which will take place just after Cincinnati. At 34 years old, it’s out of the question to take risks during a recovery.
Prediction is based on a Kevin Anderson far from his best. But if that doesn’t check out, the match could be much more balanced (and crisp?) than expected. Why not.
Prediction: Kyle Edmund wins