Australian Open Men's Singles Day 11: Edmund not without a chance against Cilic

Our pre-tournament position on Marin Cilic has yielded considerable profits...
Our pre-tournament position on Marin Cilic has yielded considerable profits...
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It's the first of two men's singles semi-finals tomorrow at the Australian Open, and British eyes will be on Kyle Edmund, to see if he can continue his dream run against the more seasoned Marin Cilic. With his views on the match, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...

"Cilic has won more service points this fortnight at Melbourne Park (71.6% compared to Edmund's 69.3%) and also has an edge on return (40.5% compared to 38.3%), but these small edges are again indicative of the fact that Cilic's price is a little short - the market is giving him plenty of kudos in the experience stakes."

Outright pick Cilic facing Edmund in Thursday semi-final

In what has been an extremely unpredictable Australian Open - largely similar to the entire 2017 season - we pleasingly have an outright men's pick still in the tournament, with Marin Cilic recommended at [40.0] pre-tournament, and the Croat is now two matches away from the title, and is the [5.10] second favourite to win the event.

Standing in his way initially is Kyle Edmund, with the Brit having a stunning tournament, and along with Hyeon Chung - who takes on Roger Federer on Friday - is starting to justify the potential which saw them both achieve superb results in Challenger events at the same time several years ago.


Edmund with a solid underdog's chance in biggest match of his career

Certainly, many casual British observers until recently may have uttered the words 'Kyle who?', but anyone who has been following tennis with more than a casual eye will have picked up on that high potential from Edmund, exhibited in those Challenger events at a young age, and now at main tour level.

The next question from those casual observers is likely to be 'can Edmund win?', and the answer is a resounding yes. The Exchange market has him as an understandable underdog, at a current [3.65] but my model makes him a little shorter, at [3.17]. Cilic, according to my model, should be [1.46].


Cilic with only a small edge over the last fortnight

With both players having won five from five here, it's worth checking out the data from those matches. Cilic has won more service points this fortnight at Melbourne Park (71.6% compared to Edmund's 69.3%) and also has an edge on return (40.5% compared to 38.3%), but these small edges are again indicative of the fact that Cilic's price is a little short - the market is giving him plenty of kudos in the experience stakes.


Cilic also with plenty to prove at the business end

While it is absolutely possible that the big occasion may get to Edmund - it is, after all, his first Grand Slam semi-final - it is also possible that Cilic will suffer too. He's not renowned for top-level mental strength, and has only won three of his last 10 semi-finals, including his last four, even against the likes of Gilles Simon and Adrian Mannarino.

In fact, it's been seven semi-finals since Cilic won one in straight sets. Over 3.5 sets is 8/13 with the Betfair Sportsbook, and this looks a pretty decent price to me, given the historical tendencies exhibited by Cilic and also the slight value on the underdog, Edmund.

In what has been a bizarre tournament with unlikely names featuring at the business end of the event, an overwhelming victory for Cilic would be unlikely. Those who did follow our advice before the tournament can consider a partial or full hedge to cash out those pre-tournament profits on Cilic, should they wish.

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Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

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