Kyle Edmund eyes future as Cilic faces Federer in final

January 26, 2018

After all the talk and all the matches played in the often blistering heat of Melbourne, the Australian Open men's final is to be a re-run of last year's denouement at the Championships, Wimbledon, as Roger Federer takes on Marin Cilic.

With Cilic ending Kyle Edmund's great run in straight sets and Korean sensation Hyeon Chung having retire with a blister in his semi-final against Federer, the youngsters will have to wait their turn as the Giant Croat aims to win a second Grand Slam title and the Swiss legend - playing a record seventh Australian Open final - targets a figure ten times as large. 

To date, no man has won 20 Grand Slams, although three women - Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf - have done so. Federer stands on the brink of something truly historic.

At the age of 36, he continues to defy his advancing years and a shortened semi-final - he was 6-1, 5-2 up when Chung bowed out - may help his cause. Victory would also take him within 155 points of Rafael Nadal at the top of the world rankings, with ATP Masters series tournaments coming up at Miami and Indian Wells. Indeed, with Nadal nursing the injury that forced him out of the tournament, he might get a clear run at top spot. 

For Cilic, the prospect of a third Grand Slam final represents a wonderful opportunity to put a grim memory behind him. Much as those booking corporate hospitality for the Championships, Wimbledon may have enjoyed the sight of Federer lifting the men's singles trophy for a record eighth time, there was no disguising the fact that he was up against an opponent hampered by blisters. 

The sixth seed will be keen to check his feet are in good order as he tries to add to the 2014 US Open title, but in one respect he has already raised his stature in the men's game. Until last summer there was a clear hierarchy, with the big four and Stan Wawrinka all being multiple Grand Slam winners and the best of the rest consisting of a group who had all reached just one major final each. Cilic had a US Open title to show for it, as did Juan Martin del Potro from five years earlier, but his opponent in 2014 Kei Nishikori, plus Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Ferrer and Milos Raonic had just one losing final to look back on.  

By reaching his second final at Wimbledon, Cilic changed that and his third suggests that, at 29 and with so many doubts about the fitness of the ageing superstars, he could enjoy plenty of success in the next couple of years.

While marvelling at Federer's enduring brilliance and admiring Cilic's peak-years performance, fans will still find much to be excited about among the emerging youngsters. Having eliminated Novak Djokovic, the 22-year-old Chung is clearly one to watch. But so too is Edmund, a year older but now set to see his ranking jump into the top 25. 

His loss to Cilic might have been a big disappointment, but several former stars have tipped Edmund to be a top player and potential Grand Slam winner. 

Speaking to the BBC, 1977 Australian Open finalist John Lloyd said he had previously thought the Yorkshireman lacked "flexibility". However, he added: "After watching the Australian [Open] I've changed completely now. I think he's got a very good shot at being top ten."


Julian Finney/Getty Images from Keith Prowse subscription

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