Kyle Edmund has the opportunity to finally oust Andy Murray as the British No.1 if he were to win his Australian Open semi final on Thursday. It will be a tough task against Marin Cilic although the Croatian seems a far more beatable opponent that the man who retired injured in the last round, Rafael Nadal. A win for Cilic will put him at a career high ranking of 3 while Edmund could hit the top 10 if he completed the run of a lifetime and won it all.
Likely in large part down to his reserved demeanour, Edmund has not really received the hype or attention of a British media that usually jumps on the first sign of success. He came into this tournament ranked at 49 and made the quarter finals thanks to a broken down draw. It was assumed that he would meet his match in the quarter finals but a composed performance saw him win in four over Grigor Dimitrov. The 1-2 punch of his serve and forehand worked well, with 13 aces and a total 26 forehand winners helping him on the way to his 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory. “Maybe just in the key moments I maybe stepped up well and was brave, really went for my shots, and they came good. I believed that I could pull off some good stuff.” he ponder in how he managed to pull off the victory.
Cilic once more is at the deep end of a grand slam despite little expectation of him being a finalist again. He was aided by Rafael Nadal’s hip injury that eventually forced his retirement in the previous round but the Croatian did already hold a 2-0 lead in the fifth set by that point. The Croatian has been serving well and added another 20 aces to his tournament total, matching the amount he hit vs Pablo Carreno Busta in the previous round. “I felt I made a good mental decision that I want to lift up a little bit with my game just with intensity, try to forget about that third set, and especially at the beginning of the fourth bring up my energy and intensity. Also I started to hit a little bit more free. Overall from that moment, end of the third until end of the match, I was hitting the ball unbelievably well.” he said post-match. Cilic is rightly the favourite but Edmund, having already defeated one top player will be confident he can spring another shock. Cilic won their only meeting in Shanghai last year, emerging victorious in straight sets.
Prediction – Marin Cilic in 5 sets