Australian Open: Kyle Edmund loses to Marin Cilic in semi-finals

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Melbourne Park
Australian Open: Edmund v Cilic
Coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app at 17:00 GMT and listen to Radio 5 live Tennis at 21:00 GMT

Briton Kyle Edmund's Australian Open run came to an end with a straight-set defeat by Croatia's sixth seed Marin Cilic in the semi-finals.

Cilic won 6-2 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 to reach his first Melbourne final, where he will face Roger Federer or Hyeon Chung.

Edmund, 23, refused to blame a hip problem which required treatment, saying it was "irrelevant".

He had been trying to become the fourth British man to reach a Grand Slam final since tennis turned pro in 1968.

His ranking is set to rise from 49th in the world to around 25th next week.

"It's been a really good couple of weeks for me," added Edmund.

"Obviously I'm disappointed right now, but I can be very happy with the way I've gone about things.

"I won some tough matches, beat good players."

Victory would have seen him overtake Andy Murray as British number one, at least until the Scot makes his expected return from hip surgery for the grass-court season in June.

A remarkable run through the draw, which began with what was then a career-best win over 11th seed Kevin Anderson and included a stunning victory against third seed Grigor Dimitrov, ended in disappointment.

Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, dominated from the outset, while Edmund required a medical timeout after the first set and appeared to be hindered in the closing stages.

"I noticed in the third game in the third set, he let a couple of balls go," said Cilic.

"I was seeing that his movement was restricted so I was trying to move the ball around."

No let-up as Cilic powers into final

Marin Cilic
Cilic put Edmund under pressure from the start of the match

Cilic, 29, was playing in his fifth major semi-final, and trying to reach a third Grand Slam final, while Edmund has yet to make it past the semi-finals of any ATP tournament.

The Yorkshireman's powerful game has improved markedly in the new season but the gulf in experience ultimately showed in an authoritative performance from Cilic.

Two breaks points in the opening game of the match were the only ones Edmund would see all evening.

A double-fault on his opening serve pointed to nerves and Edmund was under pressure early, giving up the first break with a net cord in game six.

When Cilic thumped a forehand into the corner to break again, Edmund had just one winner on his favoured forehand side and had won only 50% of points on serve.

The Briton headed for the locker room and a medical timeout, but there was no obvious sign of distress as he dug in during the second set.

Fired up after an argument with the umpire over a call, Edmund forced a tie-break and kept in touch until 3-3, but he could not chase down a forehand on the run and Cilic raced to 6-3, converting his second break point.

Cilic continued to play aggressively, as he had done against Rafael Nadal in the previous round, keeping the points short and hitting hard and deep, with two breaks carrying him to the verge of victory in the third set.

The world number six dropped just five points behind his first serve and there was little Edmund could do to stop the sixth seed becoming the first Croat to reach the Australian Open final when he swung a serve out wide, before raising his arms aloft in triumph.

"I think in the second set I was a bit up and down with my game and not getting enough returns back," added Cilic.

"He started to serve quite good. I stayed mentally very focused and tried to play every single point. It was crucial in the tie-break to keep that pressure."

Kyle Edmund talks to the referee
Edmund makes his point after a call goes against him in the second set

Analysis - Edmund has come of age

BBC Sport tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

"A very polite McEnroe moment" was the way my colleague David Law described Edmund's animated exchange of views with umpire and referee in the early part of the second set.

It certainly seemed to fire the British player up. He went onto the attack, and at 4-4 he had love-30 on the Cilic serve. The sixth seed averted the danger, and once he had won the tie-break the course of the match was set.

Edmund did not want to talk about his injury at all, out of respect for the excellence of Cilic's performance. But it was a hip issue, which may have repercussions for next week's Davis Cup tie in Spain, which involves a switch to a clay surface.

This has been an extraordinary two weeks for Edmund, who has really come of age in Melbourne. A top-30 ranking gives him an excellent chance of being seeded for the French Open and Wimbledon and a springboard for further progress in 2018.

Match stats

1Double faults3
30Unforced errors35
4/8Break points converted0/2
108Total points won82

What's next for Edmund?

Edmund is scheduled to head straight to Marbella for Great Britain's Davis Cup tie against Spain, which begins next Friday.

Captain Leon Smith will anxiously await a medical update on the man who he hopes will lead his team in the absence of Murray.

Beyond that, a trip to the Rio Open on clay in February will be followed by back-to-back Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami in March.

With Murray set to lose the 500 ranking points he gained for winning last year's Dubai title in February, Edmund could become British number one in the weeks to come.

Edmund's Australian Open
First round: Beats Kevin Anderson 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4
Second round: Beats Denis Istomin 6-2 6-2 6-4
Third round: Beats Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7-0) 3-6 4-6 6-0 7-5
Fourth round: Beats Andreas Seppi 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-2 6-3
Quarter-finals: Beats Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4
Semi-finals: Loses to Marin Cilic 6-2 7-6 (7-4) 6-2


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