Kyle Edmund’s hopes of progressing at the Rome Masters came to an end in the third round at the hands of defending champion Alexander Zverev.
The defending champion came through a thrilling second-set tie-break against the British No 1 to win 7-5 7-6 (13-11) in just under two hours of absorbing action.
Edmund dropped his serve in the opening game of the match as the 23-year-old appeared to come out on to Court Pietrangeli cold, but he soon warmed to the occasion and took advantage of a rare lapse in concentration by Zverev to hit back in the 10th game when the German was serving for the set.
However, Zverev hit back immediately in the very next game before holding successfully to take the set in 43 minutes.
Zverev, who has won clay court titles in Munich and Madrid in the lead-up to the latest Masters 1000 tournament in the Italian capital, showcased some of his flashy shot-making skills to grasp a stranglehold of the second set with a break in the third game.
But Edmund showed superb composure to hit back in the eighth game with a trademark booming forehand winner down the line to keep the match alive.
The Briton has recently hired the former training partner of Usain Bolt, Darren Chin, in a mission to improve his court speed
In a highly-entertaining encounter, Edmund was unable to take a set point opportunity when leading 5-4, as Zverev scrapped his way to a tie-break.
And in a remarkable turnaround Edmund fought back from 6-3 down to earn himself a second set point, but after he failed to take his chance, it was Zverev who stayed calm under mounting pressure to eventually see out the contest with his eighth match point opportunity.
The 21-year-old German has won his last 11 matches on clay and 22 successive sets to set up an encounter against Belgium’s David Goffin for a place in the semi-finals on Friday.
Ninth-seeded Goffin was leading 6-2 4-5 when Juan Martin del Potro retired because of a groin injury.
The Masters 1000 Series continues with our coverage of the ATP Italian Open on Sky Sports Arena from 11am on Friday
Live ATP Tennis
May 18, 2018, 11:00am
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