Edmund’s Brilliant Australian Open Ends at the Hands of Cilic
Kyle Edmund’s stunning run at the Australian Open came to an end at the hands of Croatia’s former US Open champion Marin Cilic.
Edmund defied expectations by taking down the likes of Kevin Anderson and Grigor Dimitrov to reach the last four, but he found Cilic too tough an obstacle to overcome.
The straight-sets defeat will be a bitter pill to swallow for Edmund, but the experience of reaching the semi-finals of a grand slam will be of huge benefit to a player who has designs on cracking the world’s top 20 in 2018.
For Cilic, victory takes him one step further in Melbourne than in 2010 and hands him a shot at a second major title.
It was a cagey opening to the match, with both players possibly attempting to get a feel for the other’s game, with them having only met on one previous occasion.
Cilic saved break points in opening game, as Edmund came out strong. The Croatian’s serve is his most potent weapon and it dug him out of a hole on more than one occasion.
Cilic upped the pace in sixth game, hitting through Edmund, and earned break points – and he got the breakthrough when a backhand from the Briton clipped the net and went wide.
The Croatian seemed to be able to read the Edmund serve and he secured a second break and the opening set in 36 minutes.
Edmund’s movement was impressive in his win over Dimitrov, but he looked laboured against Cilic and went off court at the end of the first set.
There was controversy at start of the fifth game of the second set as a contested line call led to Edmund becoming embroiled in a lengthy debate with the umpire. He summoned the referee on to court in a bid to ram home his point, but players never win such arguments and Edmund never looked likely to.
What it did do was fire up the world number 49 as he began to hit the ball with real venom and threatened to break through.
But, not for the first time in the tournament, Cilic’s serve stood up to the test and he secured a two-set lead via a tiebreak.
The loss of the second set was a hammer blow to Edmund who had never previously come from two sets behind to win a five-set match. He never looked likely to snap that run as Cilic earned a break early in the third set and went on to complete a 6-2 7-6(4) 6-2 win.
Cilic can now sit back and await the outcome of the second semi-final between Roger Federer and Hyeon Chung.
Whether it is Chung or defending champion Federer, Cilic’s weapons of a big serve and booming, flat forehand will present him with a live chance of victory.