Edmund takes down 'legend' Djokovic as Nadal cruises again
Rafael Nadal continues to go from strength to strength on his beloved red dirt, but Novak Djokovic's inconsistencies show no sign of dissipating following his Madrid Open exit.
Nadal's canter past Gael Monfils on Wednesday made it 20 wins in a row on clay for the Spaniard, and he can set a new record for consecutive sets won on a single surface next time out.
The world number one's latest victory means he has won 48 sets in a row on clay, one behind John McEnroe - who set the record on carpet.
For Djokovic, the positives that came after beating Kei Nishikori were blown away by Kyle Edmund, the Briton winning 6-3 2-6 6-3.
Elsewhere, Kevin Anderson thundered down 25 aces in his victory over Mikhail Kukushkin, while there were also wins for Philipp Kohlschreiber, David Goffin and John Isner.
Highly-rated Dominic Thiem battled past Federico Delbonis 4-6 6-3 7-5 late in the day, while second seed Alexander Zverev was on court until after midnight before recording a 6-2 7-5 win over Evgeny Donskoy.
EDMUND TAKES DOWN A LEGEND
With Andy Murray sidelined, Edmund has become the British number one and he shone again on clay with a huge win over former champion Djokovic.
He had plenty of praise for his opponent, but acknowledged the importance of his success.
"It's a great win for me," he said. "He [Djokovic] is a legend of the game, one of the best tennis players of all time. So, it's a really good win for me.
"[I'm] pleased with the way my game's developing, that I'm able to beat a player like that. It does me the world of good."
CAN ANYONE STOP NADAL?
At present it seems impossible that Nadal will lose a game on clay, his latest destruction of Monfils - a 6-3 6-1 triumph - a prime example of his intensity and sensational groundstrokes.
"I don't think [about] victories in a row," insisted the 16-time grand slam champion and French Open favourite.
Good start to the tournament. Thanks all for the support. Great to play at home with this amazing crowds. pic.twitter.com/N7B2G2GiDH-- Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) May 9, 2018
"I [have done] a lot of things well since I came back. I play with the right intensity, the right focus all the time.
"My backhand is working well, the forehand working well too, as always, [but] what I am most pleased with is I am recovered from my injury. That makes me feel strong."
"NOT THE END OF THE WORLD"
While Edmund celebrated, there was frustration for former world number one Djokovic as his stuttering form continues and could see him lacking match time heading to Roland Garros.
However, the Serbian is not too worried, he said: "Obviously I'm disappointed from losing this match, but I can be happy with the progress of the level of my tennis.
"It's not the end of the world. I've played this sport so many years and had a bunch of success. I try to always remind myself and be grateful of that."