The semi-final lineup at this year’s Australian Open is set.
Semi-Final 1: Marin Cilic v. Kyle Edmund
Marin Cilic is in his second Australian Open semi-final after eight years. The common denominator between the two instances is that both times he has had to face a British player in his semi-final match. Back in 2010, he had lost to Andy Murray. Coincidentally, Federer was in the second semi-final and went on to win the title (not that I am implying anything). Cilic seemed troubled in his match against Rafa Nadal but Nadal’s retirement came as a relief to him. Cilic knows what it feels to forfeit a Grand Slam match due to injury. He was at the receiving end during the Wimbledon final last year. But, lets be honest, it would have been terribly difficult for Cilic to beat a healthy Nadal. (*cough 2014 AO final cough*).
Edmund has been amazing in this tournament. He started his ascent by beating 11th seed and US Open finalist Kevin Anderson and went on to beat 3rd seed and reigning World Tour Champion Grigor Dimitrov in the Quarter-finals. This has been his best performance at any Grand Slam so far and he would be glad not to be facing Rafa Nadal. Should he win the trophy, he could replace Andy Murray as the top British player. Edmund is one of the consistent young players and is right where he needs to be. His match against Cilic will prove if he is an accidental tourist in the semi-finals or actually has what it needs to play with the big boys.
Semi-Final 2: Roger Federer v. Hyeon Chung
Hyeon Chung is the sensation rocking the tennis world currently. Not only did he beat 4th seed Sascha Zverev in the third round, trouncing him in the final set, he went on to beat six-time champion and looking to make a comeback, Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Against Chung, Djokovic faced the vices of his youth. Chung did to Djokovic what Djokovic used to do to others. I am sure Federer slept a little better when Chung took out Djokovic, but I guess that wouldn’t be the case still.
Federer looked uncomfortable in the first set in his match against Tomas Berdych. But, once he was able to sail through the first set, Berdych failed to trouble him further. Federer is the only one representing the Big Four and while he is accustomed to playing in the final rounds, he could be unsuspecting of the new generation of players. Federer will need to find answers to all their tricks and the sooner he finishes the match the better for him. As the match gets physical, Federer would stand at a disadvantage. Federer and Chung have never played each other before.
The semi-final line-up couldn’t be more contrasting. On the one hand we have two debutants (for the second successive Grand Slam) and on the other we have the defending champion playing his 43rd Grand Slam semi-final. Weighing in on their experience and the inexperience of their opponents – Prediction for the final match: Roger Federer v. Marin Cilic.
Picture credit: ATP World Tour