Kyle Edmund is the last British player standing for the third grand slam running.
The British No 1 made it through to the third round of the French Open with a four-set win over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.
After Johanna Konta departed on Sunday, Heather Watson fell by the wayside yesterday morning before Cameron Norrie’s run came to an end at the hands of Lucas Pouille. That leaves Edmund flying the flag on his own in the singles heading into a last-32 clash with Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
“It doesn’t change your way of thinking or anything,” said Edmund.
“If you’re the last or the first to go out, you’re just focusing on your job at hand and getting on with it. It’s just the way it goes. Unfortunately the nature of British tennis is there is not a whole lot. So at some points, people go out and you stay in, and it’s been like that.
“I have probably been the first to go out of the Brits before, and someone else has been on their own.”
Fucsovics, ranked 45th, came into the contest on a six-match winning streak after claiming his first ATP Tour title in Geneva last week, but lost the first set in just 27 minutes without winning a game.
Edmund had his own slump in the second set when he called the trainer for a problem with the index finger on his right hand, losing the first five games.
The injury is not expected to derail his Roland Garros campaign, however. Edmund explained it was a paper cut. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old responded well, quickly moving 3-0 ahead in the third, and went on to claim a 6-0, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory after two hours and 16 minutes.
Edmund has never played Fognini, the clay-court specialist who took Andy Murray to four sets at Wimbledon last year.
“Yes, it will be a very tough match, for sure,” added Edmund. “He plays very well on this surface. He’s had some really good results. He’s beaten Rafael Nadal.
“In terms of the match-up, I’ll speak to my coach about maybe what I need to try and do. It’s always sort of the same thing. With me, I try to focus on getting my game out on court first, because that gives me a good chance. And then certain tactics or plays you look out for when you’re playing the particular opponent.”
The only thing to shock title favourite Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros yesterday was the resignation of Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
Real fan Nadal heard the news that the Champions League-winning boss was leaving before he took on Argentina’s Guido Pella.
“Of course it was a surprise for everybody, no?” he said. “But at the same time, Zidane is a top person. He’s a person that it is tough to accept that he’s leaving.
“He has always been positive and believing in the players and on the club. He deserves to choose what’s better for him. For my side, I just can say thanks for all the things that he did for Madrid. I hope he will be back.”
That was where the shocks ended, though, as the world No 1 and ten-time champion dropped just four games in an emphatic 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 win.
Nadal admitted he took things a little too easy in dispatching lucky loser Simone Bolelli in straight sets over two days in the first round, but definitely moved up a gear against Pella. The world No 78 put up a decent fight, especially in the first set with some classy winners. But facing deuce after deuce on his own serve, with Nadal pounding away from the back of the court, he understandably wilted. Nadal will face France’s 29th seed Richard Gasquet in the third round.
Marin Cilic, the third seed from Croatia, did not have things all his own way against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland. Cilic led by two sets but dropped the third on a tie-break before going on to win 6-2, 6-2, 6-7 (3/7), 7-5.
Juan Martin del Potro was also a winner in straight sets, the Argentinian fifth seed beating France’s Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Sixth seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa needed four sets to get past tricky Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, while Dominic Thiem, the seventh seed from Austria, resumed at 2-1 up against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and eventually won 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.