Australian Open 2018: Cilic, Edmund and Mertens ensure shocks continue on Day 9

TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN STOCK
Stock photograph of an Australian Open Tennis Ball. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING

Well well well, the formbook is in danger of annihilation in Melbourne as some of the expected semi-final line ups are now nowhere to be seen (full SF predictions tomorrow by the way).

As dramatic and potentially significant as Nadal’s injury and subsequent loss to Cilic is, we have to start with Kyle Edmund who shows no signs of slowing down.

The British No.2 continues to be rock solid and seemingly nerveless; a man who hasn’t even reached a tour final let alone won one. Now Edmund is striding confidently into his first major semi-final and although Dimitrov crumbled somewhat at the crucial moments, the Brit earned his victory 100%.

Surely though it would be Nadal next? The number one seed was looking bullish and although not faultless, was looking a shoe-in for the title.

Instead, it is the likeable Croat Cilic who – even before Rafa’s horrible, heartbreaking injury took hold late on – was proving a match for the Spaniard and showing the kind of form which took him to that US Open title in 2014.

In a perfect mix of styles and game-plans, 2010 semi-finalist Cilic’s ultra flat booming groundstrokes were soaked up by Rafa who himself was producing some world-beating down the line beauties as only he can. But it wasn’t enough and perhaps wouldn’t have been even if he was healthy come the end.

After a stunning 3rd set which had it all it was a Marin masterclass, albeit one punctuated with that injury to his opponent.

The women? Well the day began with another surprise result; the smart money has been on Elina Svitolina to sneak the title, such is her brand of self assured power hitting. But It was one of those days where suddenly nothing would click and no rhythm could be found. In contrast, Belgian Elise Mertens was hitting confidently and without fear, going for her shots and showing great defence when needed.

It was all one way traffic in the end.

Finally, we check back in with Caroline Wozniacki who might be feeling a little aggrieved such has been the quality of her play and the relative media silence it has generated. We’ve been here before of course and the Dane has come up short when it really matters, but she showed grit today in her first 3 set win here against Suarez Navarro.

 

 

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