Rafael Nadal next after Kyle Edmund wins battle of Britain

Kyle Edmund defeated fellow Briton Dan Evans in straight sets at the Monte Carlo Masters as the Davis Cup team-mates met for the first time on the ATP tour.

Kyle Edmund celebrates his win over fellow Briton Dan Evans in Monte Carlo. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Kyle Edmund celebrates his win over fellow Briton Dan Evans in Monte Carlo. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Evans is one place higher than Edmund in the rankings, 44th to 45th, but the 7-5, 6-1 scoreline in their first-round clash was not a major surprise with the younger man a strong favourite on clay.

The pair have only played each other once before, in a Challenger event final in Dallas last year, which Edmund also won.

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The first set saw more breaks of serve than holds, Edmund rallying from 4-1 down after an error-strewn start to put together four service breaks of his own.

Evans missed two opportunities to break at the start of the second set and, having held off that surge, Edmund eased to victory with another four breaks to round things out in an hour and 20 minutes with his second ace.

Rafael Nadal, a nine-time champion in Monte Carlo, who has only ever lost four timkes at the event, awaits Edmund in round two, with the Briton requiring a more polished display to compete against the Spaniard.

Edmund said: “It’s a good opportunity for me.

“I’ve never played Rafa. I mean, this tournament, as well, is such a successful tournament for him, winning nine times.

“He obviously loves playing here [and is] very comfortable conditions. So, for me, it will be a great opportunity. I’ve played Novak [Djokovic] three times, Andy [Murray] twice, [Stan] Wawrinka, [Milos] Raonic.

It’s another Top 10 opportunity for me. I like the clay. I’ve been getting better on it over the past few days.”

The battle of the Brits was watched by the pair’s Davis Cup team-mate and world No 1 Andy Murray, who will get his Monte Carlo campaign under way tomorrow against either Spains Tommy Robredo or Gilles Muller of Luxemburg.

Veteran Robredo in in fine form on clay having defeated world No 11 in Marrakesh last week.

World No 18 Roberto Bautista Agut survived a scare against Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili, coming from a set down to win 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in a little more than two hours.

Spain’s Nicolas Almagro also had to recover from losing the first set to Slovakian Martin Klizan, eventually coming through 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman was a 6-1, 7-6 winner over Australia’s Bernard Tomic but Germany’s Alexander Zverev coasted past Italian wildcard Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-2 and Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas comfortably beat Serbia’s Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-0.