Sunday 23 September 2018

Edmund enjoys taste of big time

Marin Cilic. Photo: Getty Images
Marin Cilic. Photo: Getty Images

Nigel Whittaker in Melbourne

Kyle Edmund has the grand slam bug and is determined that his taste of the big time will not be his last.

The 23-year-old's Briton's stunning run at the Australian Open ended with a 6-2, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 loss to sixth seed Marin Cilic in the semi-finals, but Edmund will leave Melbourne with nothing but positive memories and encouragement for the future.

Edmund's big weapon - his sledgehammer of a forehand - was no secret but, under new coach Fredrik Rosengren, he has improved his serve and added the mental strength to flourish under pressure.

As well as his £500,000 in prize money, he will leave Australia as a top-30 player for the first time and with the belief he can push on.

Cilic, who has experience of winning a grand slam at the US Open in 2014, was always going to be a very tough challenge but Edmund looked weary in mind and body and was unable to play at his best. His only two break points came in the very first game of the match while he took an off-court medical time-out at the end of the first set.

Meanwhile, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki will try to put history to one side when they clash in the women's final tomorrow with a first grand slam title and the world No 1 ranking on the line.

After Wozniacki withstood a major wobble with the finish line in sight to beat Elise Mertens 6-3 7-6 (7/2), Halep defeated title favourite Angelique Kerber 6-3, 4-6, 9-7, with the third set a battle of lung-busting brilliance.

The final will be a clash between the top two seeds, who share more than simply proximity in the rankings.

Both have been ranked number one without winning a slam, both lost their first two finals at this level and, in the second half of their careers, both know they may never get a better chance.

If the final has anywhere near the quality and drama of the third set of Halep's match against Kerber, then Rod Laver Arena is in for a treat.

Halep served for the match at 5-3, missed two match points in the following game and then saved two match points herself at 5-6 before finally clinching her fourth opportunity.

  • Australian Open, Live, Eurosport 1, 6.0am

Irish Independent

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