Melbourne - Marin Cilic was denied by Andy Murray in his
first Australian Open semi eight years ago and another Briton now stands in his
way on Thursday of making the final.
The six-seeded Croat was the beneficiary when world No.1
Rafael Nadal retired injured for only the second time in his 264 Grand Slam
matches in the fifth set of their titanic quarter-final on Tuesday.
It opened the door for the 2014 US Open champion to make his
fifth Grand Slam semi-final, in sharp contrast to Kyle Edmund who is in his
first after an extraordinary run in Melbourne.
Edmund, ranked 49, is the only British man in this year's
field after five-time finalist Murray's injury withdrawal before the
The introverted 23-year-old Yorkshireman is only the fourth
British man to get this far in Melbourne following his upset of world No 3
Grigor Dimitrov in the quarters.
He has kept a lid on his expectations during his
mind-whirring charge through the field, but has impressed with his penetrative
serve and booming forehand during his giant-killing run.
"I don't think about I'm going to win it. I think the
next match is in my head. I believe I can win that, like the last one and every
match," Edmund said.
"I've gone in there knowing where my game is at,
knowing what I want to do on court, not taking anything for granted.
"I go in there, do what I need to do, play my game as
best as I can, then move on to the next one. Match by match, that's key for me
really, not thinking too far ahead."
But Edmund dropped his inscrutable guard when he described
his feelings of reaching the last four at a Grand Slam after mastering
"I am loving it right now, just the way I'm
playing," he said.
"I'm 23 years old, my first Grand Slam semi-final. For
the first time I played on one of the biggest courts in the world and to beat a
quality of player like Grigor.
"They're great feelings. You don't obviously play in
the semi-finals of a Grand Slam every day."
He will fancy his chances against Cilic, despite losing his
only match to him in two sets in Shanghai last year.
"Really I can go out there and do my best. I'm in a
good place," he said.
Cilic is bullish about his form heading into the business
end of the tournament, having got past 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta and Nadal
to play off for a spot in Sunday's final.
"I'm extremely pleased with my own game. Even in the
other matches before the Nadal one, I played great tennis. Very high
level," Cilic said.
"I want to keep going with my own game and try to lift
up, keep pushing as much as I can."
Cilic, who lost to Roger Federer in last year's Wimbledon
final, has been serving impressively with a total of 96 aces and a fastest
serve clocked at 215km/h.
He has won 81 percent of his first serve points and 54
percent of his second serve points, while breaking his opponents' serve 23
Cilic sees facing the unseeded Edmund as a great opportunity
to make his third Grand Slam final and first in Melbourne.
"Kyle has had an amazing run, winning a lot of tough
matches and playing great tennis," Cilic said.
"He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter,
great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts.
"For me, obviously on the paper it's probably easier to
play him than Rafa. But still he deserves a lot to be here."