The top half semifinal at the Australian Open will be contended by two heavy hitters, Kyle Edmund and Marin Cilic. Young Kyle Edmund, ranked No.49, broke out in surprising fashion at the Aussie. After fighting through five-setters against Anderson and Basilashvili, he then halted the Grigor Dimitrov hype train in the quarter finals.
Marin Cilic, on the other hand, has had a fairly typical run into the quarters. The Croat, a fixture in the highest echelons of tennis, rarely loses to low-ranked players in the early rounds of grand slams. But in the quarters he achieved something remarkable, outlasting World No. 1 Nadal in a five-set battle.
Tale of the Tape:
Mental + Fitness:
Slight edge to Marin Cilic here. Cilic has extensive experience in Grand Slams, and his confidence is high after beating Nadal into submission (literally). He’s looked fit and engaged throughout the tournament.
On the other hand, Edmund won two five-setters, and sometimes coming back from the brink can give players a survivor’s boost. As the underdog, he’s got nothing to lose, and no mental scar tissue. The Brit suffered some elbow problems early on, but seemed hale against Dimitrov.
So far this Australian Open has been a triumph for the young and naive. But in the latter stages experience almost always prevails. Advantage Marin Cilic
I think the matchup here also goes to Cilic. Marin Cilic is 6’6”, but may be the best mover of the big men on the tour. He skips around the baseline. His groundstrokes are pretty impeccable off both wings, flat and penetrating. Lastly, look out for his slice serve, Nadal was hopeless against it on Monday.
Kyle Edmund has one of the best forehands on the tour. He cannons winners from all over the court. This was especially crucial in his match against Grigor Dimitrov. Dimitrov is forehand dominant as well, but he’s much more defensive. Edmund had the edge on the day in the battle of forehands. This left his backhand pretty protected.
Cilic has many advantages over Dimitrov. He won’t scrap and slide from far behind the baseline. This will be high-octane tennis from the start. In addition, the backhand to backhand rallies will be profoundly skewed to Cilic and his second serve won’t fail under pressure like Dimitrov’s.
Advantage Marin Cilic
Cilic in four. 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-4. The Croat will struggle a bit in the beginning and then find his range and barrel through to the final.