INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The British players arrived in the desert early this year, notably with the appearance of No. 1 Kyle Edmund in the Oracle Challenger this week.
Edmund captured the title with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia.
But it wasn’t exactly a cakewalk. The field was high quality, and included players with significant resumés and/or notable wins.
Edmund defeated Tommy Robredo in the second round, Lukas Rosol in the third, and Yannick Maden of Germany in the quarterfinals – all in straight sets.
In the semis, he came up against No. 5 seed Lloyd Harris of South Africa, and dropped his only set of the week in a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 victory.
— Kyle Edmund (@kyle8edmund) March 3, 2019
Another early arrival was the comebacking Dan Evans, who came straight from an impressive and exhausting effort at the Delray Beach event the previous week.
Two years ago this week, Evans was at a career high No. 41 in the rankings. And then, his issues began as he served a doping suspension.
Evans’s 2019 season has been a win fest so far. He won three rounds in qualifying in Australia before losing in the second round of the main draw to Roger Federer. He then went to France and reached the final of the Quimper Challenger. After that came the run from the qualifying in Delray, with wins over John Isner, Frances Tiafoe and Andreas Seppi before losing a heartbreaker in the third-set tiebreak to Rabu Albot of Moldova.
Evans reached the semifinals, losing to Rublev and falling one match short of making the men’s singles final an all-Brit affair.
Evans began the season ranked No. 190. With the five spots he gained in the desert this week, he’s back in the top 100 – at exactly No. 100.
Brits noshing together
A British dinner last night 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/f74OeKH8a8
— Kyle Edmund (@kyle8edmund) March 2, 2019
If you hadn’t noticed from this pic, Edmund is an absolute dead ringer for his dad.
Even better, we didn’t see him without a smile on his face the entire week. And judging by the genes, his son will be in good shape.
The boys brought Heather Watson along for the ride, as well.
Boulter and Konta
For 22-year-old Katie Boulter, just a few spots off of a career-high singles ranking of No. 82 reached a few weeks ago, this will be an Indian Wells debut.
She’s the No. 6 seed, and will play American Allie Kiick in the first round of the qualifying. If she wins, she could face Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland. Golubic is on a roll after posting a crazy comeback win over Jennifer Brady of the U.S. in the Oracle Challenger women’s singles final Sunday.
Here’s what she looked like during a practice session with Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.’
Watson, the No. 18 seed in qualifying, will play Sara Errani of Italy.
As for Johanna Konta, ranked No. 45 this week, she’ll be unseeded when the main draw gets under way on Wednesday.
Her best Indian Wells effort was her first main-draw appearance in 2016, when she won two matches before losing to Karolina Pliskova in three sets.
Konta’s coach, Dimitri Zavialoff, has not arrived yet. So Konta was flying solo, with the assistance of an Ellesse-clad hitting partner.