Read & Watch: Edmund Powers Into Maiden Slam Semi-Final
Is there any stopping of Kyle Edmund this Australian Open? The 23-year-old unseeded Brit won his fifth match in a row in Melbourne on Tuesday, upsetting third seed and 2017 semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.
Edmund, who before this fortnight had only reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam championship (2016 US Open), will now face Marin Cilic for a spot in the Australian Open final. Read Cilic-Nadal Report
Edmund became only the sixth British man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in the Open Era (since April 1968) – Roger Taylor, John Lloyd, Greg Rusedski, Tim Henman and Andy Murray. “Amazing feeling, very happy... it was my first match on this court and it was very special,” Edmund said on Rod Laver Arena after the match.
Watch Edmund Interview From Brisbane 2018
“It's totally normal to feel nervous,” said Edmund. “As an emotion, as a human being, it's normal. I just accepted that and just had things in place to basically deal with it. It's not like I walked on court being nervous first time in my life. You still go on there and play your game. Today, I just really did well at that. I'm aware of the occasion, but I really just tried to focus on my tennis, enjoy it as much as possible. It was a great feeling out there.
“I am loving it right now, just the way I'm playing. I'm 23 years old, [in] my first Grand Slam semi-final. [It was the] first time I played on one of the biggest courts in the world… I just try to enjoy it as much as possible, like I said. I knew I was in a good place. There's no reason why my tennis wasn't good enough to win. It's obviously about going out there and doing it.”
Dimitrov entered the quarter-final as the favourite, but Edmund knocked out the two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist by playing more consistently and more powerfully. The gameplan was clear from the start: bludgeon his best shot – his forehand – against Dimitrov's one-handed backhand.
In the first set, they traded breaks but Edmund broke once more in the ninth game, tomahawking a forehand winner off a weak second serve and later served out the opener. The Brit won nearly 50 per cent of Dimitrov's second-serve points and hit 46 winners.
Dimitrov, who fell in the semi-final last year to Rafael Nadal, responded in the second set, riding an early break to even the match.
But the serving troubles that had hampered him earlier in the tournament crept back into his game in the third. Dimitrov had 15 double faults during his third-round match in Melbourne, and at 3-4 in the third set, he tossed in another double fault to give Edmund the break. Dimitrov finished with seven double faults, equalling his number of aces.
Edmund found his way to his maiden semi-final eight games later, breaking Dimitrov for the second time in the set after the Bulgarian started to look out of sorts, shanking forehands well off the court.
Dimitrov beat Edmund three weeks ago at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp, with Edmund twisting his ankle at 4-4 in the deciding set. The pair also met in July 2017 at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.
"Kyle deserves all the respect," said Dimitrov. "He deserved to win, simple as that. He's been working so hard the past months. I've seen that. I take full responsibility of my match today. There's no point for me to say what I did wrong, because I can sit here and talk about it, but it's all about him right now. He's the winner."