By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

  • Kyle Edmund def. Grigor Dimitrov [3] 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4
  • Best result in Slams for Edmund
  • First British man, other than Andy Murray, to reach the Australian Open semi-finals since john Lloyd (1977).
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Kyle Edmund stunned No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov to earn a spot in his first Grand Slam semi-final.

 

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Kyle Edmund def. Grigor Dimitrov [3] 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4

The first set ought to be one that Kyle Edmund bottles and keeps as a vintage. His forehand was on fire from the get-go, and World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov wasted precious time trying to establish his range.

Edmund quickly established a 3-1 lead, and even through the Brit was broken back in the sixth game, he kept his head down, and in his usual quite hustling style built up patience for a break before holding on to his nerves to serve out the first set. He saved three break points along the way, finally sealing the deal on the second set point.

Grigor Dimitrov in the first round of the Australian Open 2018

Grigor Dimitrov in the first round of the Australian Open 2018 (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

As befits a man of Dimitrov’s experience, he was the one quicker out of the blocks at the start of the second set – quickly jumping out to a 3-0 lead, and although Edmund steadied his nerves to get on the board, he could not come good on his chance to break back in the second as Dimitrov gained in confidence to level things up with the second set.

The third set upped the levels of intensity once more, the first break chance falling to Edmund but again Dimitrov held firm. As the atmosphere seemed to flag a little in the stadium, Edmund picked up the pace, aided by a very woolly game from the Bulgarian to break at the end of the set and serve for 2-1 lead.

First blood in the fourth set went to Edmund, as Dimitrov looked increasingly unsettled, but the No. 3 seed gathered his wits to break Edmund straight back. Once more Edmund pressed and earned a break point, but could not convert, so settled to stay in contention just a little more.

By now Edmund was beginning to look the more fleet of foot out there, ripping passing shots with confidence, and delivering another break to the disbelieving Bulgarian.

Serving out the match saw a few nerves for sure – not to mention a nerve-jangling wait for the final call to see if was out. It was and with the elder Statesman of British Tennis, Tim Henman looking on, Edmund advanced to his first Slam semi-final.

He said, after the match: “We just talked about it with my coach. It’s totally normal to feel nervous. As an emotion, as a human being, it’s normal. I just accepted that and just had things in place to basically deal with it. It’s not like I walked on court being nervous first time in my life.

“You still go on there and play your game. Today I just really did well at that. I’m aware of the occasion, but really just tried to focus on my tennis, enjoy it as much as possible. It was a great feeling out there.”

Dimitrov had nothing but praise for him, and after rushing to his aid at Brisbane, has first hand knowledge of how far Edmund had come since their previous meeting.

“Kyle deserves all the respect. He deserved to win, simple as that. He’s been working so hard the past months. I’ve seen that. Played him a couple of times.

“I take full responsibility of my match today. There’s no point for me to say what I did wrong because I can sit here and talk about it, but it’s all about him right now. He’s the winner.”

He continued: “I could feel he was also a little bit tired, was going a little bit more for his shots. Sometimes it’s even trickier to play against opponents like that. You know even if you play good, they’re going to just shoot couple of times when you don’t expect, play a bit of a different game. I’ve seen him improve throughout all the months.”

 

 

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Edmund v Marin Cilic [6] | H2H: Cilic leads 1-0

Marin Cilic in the quarter-final of the Australian Open, 2018

Marin Cilic in the quarter-final of the Australian Open, 2018 | (PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)

The maturity and poise of Edmund has gone from strength to strength throughout the tournament. From the tough opened against US Open finalist and No. 11 seed Kevin Anderson, to defeating the World No. 3 Grgor Dimitrov, Edmund has banished all the doom and gloom surrounding Andy Murray‘s continued hip woes.

So excuse us a little patriotic fervour as we celebrate an understated hero, whose hard work ethic has brought him the results he has richly deserved.

He has done his fair share of working alongside Murray and their punishing training blocks but since partnering up with Mark Hylton and Fredrik Rosengren the good serve/forehand combo Edmund always had has since become a real weapon that has laid waste to two seeds and taken him to a first Slam semi-final.

Cilic has largely crept through the draw unnoticed, but not without a few battles of his own to contend with. He’s been taken to four sets twice, and was 2-0 up in the decider against an ailing Rafael Nadal before the Workd No. 1 had to retire, giving Cilic his semi-final berth.

In their one meeting, Cilic might have taken it in straight sets, but edmund gave a good acount of himself, forcing a tiebreak for the second set.

The pair play a similar style of hard hitting tennis, and throughout the tournament, Edmund’s forehand has gained admiration from a lot of quarters given his consistency with the mainstay of his game.

The fast surface suits the big-serving Croatian and although he can look a tad ungainly at times, he can move around well, and cover the baseline pretty effectively. He has an effective second serve, so Edmund’s returnins is going to be as sharp as it was especially against Anderson and Nikoloz Basialshvili.

The issue is that Cilic could well make Edmund grind this out certainly over four sets if not the distance, but there is a self-belief in the quietly determined Yorkshireman which has help propelled him to his best results to date.

And being part of the Next Gen class with Hyeon Chung also in the semi-final – the old guard do need to watch out – the young ones may have a way to go to break up the old order, but they are beginning to make their presence felt.

It still feels like a tough ask for Edmund to go another round, but he showed tremendous fortitude against Dimitrov, who seemed to implode at the lack of capitulation coming from the opposite side of the court.

This won’t be a quick match, but with the experience he brings, you have to give Cilic the edge.

Prediction: Cilic in four sets

 

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