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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Kyle Edmund can make life tough for Nadal's conqueror

Results in Melbourne suggest Briton may be a threat to Cilic

Kyle Edmund hits a forehand on the way to victory over Grigor Dimitrov
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First men's semi-final
Eurosport 1, 8.30am Thursday 

It's the biggest match of young Kyle Edmund's career and the way the Briton has been playing, he could do himself proud in his Australian Open semi-final rumble with Marin Cilic.

Sixth seed Cilic has been installed a fairly solid favourite in the wake of his 3-6 6-3 6-7 6-2 2-0 victory over Rafael Nadal, a match which ended prematurely when the top seed retired reportedly due to injury.

But judging by his Melbourne Park victories over Kevin Anderson and, in the quarter-finals, Grigor Dimitrov, Edmund, who was a whopping 500-1 for the title before the tournament started, could be playing well enough to at least keep tabs on Cilic.

The Croat is no stranger to thrashing opponents, but Edmund possesses plenty of physical and, it seems, mental strength and it will be a surprise if he is battered by his higher-ranked opponent.

Cilic's main focus in recent seasons has been trying to win Wimbledon, but his run to the last four down under will not hurt his fitness levels when it comes to trying to correct his past shortcomings in the London Grand Slam.

The fact that Cilic ended his working relationship with coach Jonas Bjorkman after his All England Club final defeat to Roger Federer last July was questioned by many observers.

However, to Cilic's credit the parting with the legendary Swede appears to have galvanised the player and he is looking almost as focused as when he stormed to the US Open title in 2014.

Cilic won his only previous meeting with Edmund 6-3 7-6 on a Shanghai hard court last year. That scoreline suggests the Yorkshireman, who upset November's ATP Finals champion Dimitrov 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4 on Tuesday, is not without a chance of causing his opponent problems in their second clash.

The best way to punt on the match, which could prove a thriller and closer than the oddsmakers believe, may be to back it to last at least four sets.

Over 3.5 sets
2pts 8-13 Paddy Power

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To Cilic's credit his parting with legendary Swedish coach Bjorkman appears to have galvanised the Croat
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