January 23, 2018
By Martyn Herman
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Unseeded Briton Kyle Edmund bludgeoned his way to a shock 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over third seed Grigor Dimitrov to claim his place in the Australian Open semi-finals on Tuesday.
The South Africa-born 23-year-old, playing in his first grand slam quarter-final, showed no nerves as he blazed away with his fearsome forehand to subdue a nervy Dimitrov.
Edmund crunched 46 winners to Dimitrov’s 32 on a packed Rod Laver Arena sprinkled with vocal fans of both players.
There were some nerves as Edmund served for victory but he held firm to become only the sixth British player to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam in the professional era.
He began the tournament as the only British man in the draw after five-times Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray withdrew to have surgery on his injured hip.
Murray, recovering back at home, reacted to Edmund’s achievement on Twitter. “Wow!” said the Scot.
Coached by Swede Fredrik Rosengren, who once worked with big-hitting Robin Soderling, Edmund produced nearly three hours of raw aggression on his first appearance on Rod Laver.
His moment of victory arrived after a Hawkeye challenge confirmed Dimitrov’s backhand had drifted long.
“It’s an amazing feeling, very happy,” 49th-ranked Edmund, who could face top seed Rafa Nadal in the next round if he beats Marin Cilic, said on court.
He could even overtake Murray, Britain’s number one since 2006, in the rankings if he goes all the way to the final.
“I know what it feels like to be Andy Murray for the last eight years or however long,” Edmund said of the spotlight now on him after his incredible run in Melbourne.
Dimitrov was heavy favorite after his superb fourth-round defeat of home favorite Nick Kyrgios but the portents were not good when he dropped serve in the opening game.
“Today was just one of those days, I just couldn’t find a way,” Dimitrov, still awaiting his first major final, said.
The 26-year-old squared the match when Edmund misfired in the sixth game but the Briton then thumped a blistering forehand winner off a weak second serve to grab a 5-4 lead.
Dimitrov had two break points then saved a set point in the next game but Edmund earned another chance with a volley and moved ahead with a heavy first serve.
Edmund dipped a little in the second set and Dimitrov took full advantage to level. But the silky Bulgarian never looked comfortable against an ultra aggressive opponent and a double-fault at 3-4 in the third set proved costly.
The players swapped breaks in the fourth set but Dimitrov was winning only half of his first serve points and the pressure finally told as a backhand error gave Edmund a break at 4-4.
A tense final game saw Edmund double-fault but an ace brought up match point before Dimitrov sliced long.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
Powered by WPeMatico