Italian Open: Kyle Edmund & Aljaz Bedene reach second round in Rome
Britons Kyle Edmund and Aljaz Bedene both made it through to the second round of the Italian Open in Rome with victories on Monday.
Edmund, 22, impressed on his debut at the Foro Italico with a 6-3 6-4 win over Portugal’s Joao Sousa.
Qualifier Bedene, 27, was leading 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 3-0 when Italy’s Gianluca Mager retired with an injury.
Defending champion Andy Murray will face Italy’s Fabio Fognini in his opening match on Tuesday.
Edmund, ranked 53rd in the world, remained ahead in the battle to be British number two thanks to his victory over Sousa.
The Yorkshireman’s big forehand was backed up by fine serving as he broke once in each set to see off the world number 51.
He will next face Juan Martin del Potro or Grigor Dimitrov.
Bedene, the world number 55, continued his fine form on the clay, following up his two qualifying wins to set up a second-round match with number two seed Novak Djokovic.
Murray faces a tough test in his opening match as he looks to find some form before the French Open later this month.
“Fognini is one of the better clay-court players,” said the world number one.
“He obviously will be highly motivated playing in Italy as well.
“I have had some tough matches with him in the past, so it won’t be easy. I will definitely need to play well in that one to have a chance of winning.”
Murray turned 30 on Monday but is optimistic he can overcome his struggles with form and fitness this year and continue to challenge for the major titles.
“You never know how your body’s going to be and your health,” said the Scot.
“If that’s fine, there is no reason why you can’t compete at the top of the game into your early to mid-30s.”