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British rank outsider Kyle Edmund heads into first grand slam semi-final

KYLE EDMUND continued his run at the Australian Open by beating third seed Grigor Dimitrov to reach his first ever grand slam semi-final.

With Andy Murray sidelined, the smart money at the start of the tournament would have said that Britain would never have a man through to the last four, but Edmund has defied the odds at Melbourne Park.

Making his debut on Rod Laver Arena, the 23-year-old (pictured above) did not allow the occasion to get to him and took advantage of an opponent not at the top of his game to win 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4.

The outsider, who will face Marin Cilic in the last four, is the first British man other than Murray to make the last four here since John Lloyd in 1977 and only the fourth in the Open era.

There was an agonising wait for the Edmund as Dimitrov challenged on the final point but his forehand was shown to be marginally long and the Yorkshireman could celebrate his achievement.

Dimitrov was excellent in his fourth-round victory over Nick Kyrgios but has otherwise struggled this tournament.

He was taken to five sets by qualifier Mackenzie McDonald in round two and then served 15 double faults against Andrey Rublev in the following round.

Edmund went into the match having hit more winners than any other player in the tournament and he made an immediate statement with a break of serve in the opening game.

On the ball: Edmund holds his nerve to return a tester from his opponent

A couple of wayward forehands cost him the break back in the sixth game but Dimitrov was unconvincing on serve and Edmund was celebrating before the ball had landed when a monster forehand return earned him the chance to serve for the opening set.

His ability to withstand the pressure at the big moments has been one of the defining features of Edmund’s run here and he showed great composure again to save three break points before clinching the set.

This was the third meeting between the pair, with the previous two having ended with narrow Dimitrov wins, including two weeks ago in Brisbane, when Edmund was matching his opponent blow for blow until he twisted his ankle late on.

On both previous occasions, Dimitrov had won the first set, and the Bulgarian set about trying to repair the damage with an immediate break of the Edmund serve at the start of the second set.

The Yorkshireman’s signature forehand was yielding a few too many unforced errors and Dimitrov survived a couple of shaky service games to level the match.

Unexpected result: Dimitrov congratulates Edmund at the end of the match PICTURES: REX

A saved break point in the opening game of the third set was crucial as Edmund looked for the advantage once again.

Dimitrov’s exceptional powers of defence were making it hard for even Edmund to hit through but he countered that with hitherto unseen skills at the net, following in his forehand and showing deft touch on the drop volley.

He might have broken for 3-1 had he gone to the net instead of hung back but it did not prove costly as Dimitrov served his seventh double fault to hand the break to Edmund in the eighth game.

And once again he was ice cool when it counted, recovering from 15-30 to move to within a set of the semi-finals.

Edmund did not look in the least bit fazed and it was Dimitrov who cracked again in the fifth game of the fourth set with a wild forehand giving his opponent the break for 3-2.

Edmund tightened a little to allow Dimitrov the break back but the Bulgarian erred again at 4-4, sending a forehand into the net to give the Englishman the chance to serve for the match.