Kyle Edmund has broken into the world’s top 150 players for the first time after winning his first Challenger Tour title in Hong Kong.
While the attention of British tennis fans was focused on Andy Murray’s efforts to claim the Australian Open crown, 20-year-old Edmund was celebrating a significant victory.
The Yorkshireman did not drop a set in his five matches at the second-tier event and was an impressive 6-1 6-2 winner over 89th-ranked Japanese player Tatsuma Ito in the final.
The victory helped Edmund climb 44 places in the rankings to 148 and continued his fine start to the season after he successfully came through three qualifying rounds at the Australian Open.
He said in the South China Morning Post: “He (Ito) is very experienced and I knew I had to take it to him and play my own game. Luckily, this was the best I played all week and it was ideal that it came in the final.”
No British man won a Challenger title last season, with Edmund reaching his first final in his last event of the year in Yokohama before losing to Australian John Millman.
Edmund cemented his position as the British No 3 behind Murray, who has returned to the world’s top four courtesy of his run in Melbourne, and world No 102 James Ward.
Edmund’s form has also furthered his case to be named in Britain’s Davis Cup team for next month’s World Group clash with the United States in Glasgow.
First he will attempt to push his ranking closer to the top 100 at an Australia event.