ATP Sony Open: Kyle Edmund goes out in battling defeat
British wild card Kyle Edmund went down fighting in Miami as he lost a hard-fought three-setter to Julien Benneteau.
Last Updated: 20/03/14 5:19am
The 19-year-old from East Yorkshire is ranked a lowly 298 but was on course for a spectacular upset when he went a set and a break up against his 32-year-old opponent.
However, Benneteau's experience eventually shone through as he fought back to claim a 6-7 (2/7) 6-3 6-2 win in just under two hours.
Edmund, who had only played twice on the ATP Tour this season and lost both matches, was broken in the opening game but hit back immediately, holding his own against the Frenchman throughout the rest of the set to force a tie break.
At that point, the teenager showed an astonishing level of maturity to dominate his opponent, taking a 4-1 and 6-2 lead before hitting another winner on serve to go a set up and give Benneteau much to think about.
Turned the screw
Edmund then heaped further pressure on his opponent with another break of serve in game five of the second, but this time Benneteau responded by winning the next four games to level the match and set up a decider.
Still there was no sign of a white flag from the young Briton, who continued to serve with confidence and punch the ball around the court like a player far older than his 19 years.
However, Benneteau, a former French Open quarter-finalist, finally turned the screw on his opponent with another break of serve in the fifth, and Edmund could not find an answer as the Frenchman continued to reel off the games before serving out to love for the match.
Meanwhile, Australian Matthew Ebden will be the first opponent for defending ATP Miami Masters champion Andy Murray after the Scotsman revealed his shock split with coach Ivan Lendl.
Ebden, ranked 67th, booked his Friday match against the reigning Wimbledon champion by defeating Poland's Lukasz Kubot 4-6 6-4 6-4.
Murray beat Ebden in their only previous match, a Shanghai quarter-final three years ago.