KYLE Edmund appeared physically and mentally drained as he walked quietly off the Rod Laver Court yesterday morning UK time, his hopes of a remarkable Australian Open final appearance dispatched 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-2 by a merciless Marin Cilic of Croatia.

But even the savagery of the score line couldn’t disguise the way this 23-year-old South African-born Yorkshireman, usually regarded as one of the more introspective players on the tour, has found his voice in the last fortnight.

Clad in garish black and pink outfit, he was more black and blue at the end of this one and it was little wonder if his bones were screaming out in pain at the end of the first five-match Tour level winning run of his career, including two epic five-set victories and two trifling four-set ones too.

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Many suspected he wouldn’t even make it past the first round, but he came from a set down to take care of Kevin Anderson, the 2017 US Open finalist, then held his nerve better than Grigor Dimitrov, the No.3 seed.

Despite forcing break points in the very first game of the match yesterday, the suspicion that all these miles on the clock during this tournament might come back to haunt him only increased when he disappeared for a lengthy medical time-out after losing the first set, but there was certainly nothing timid or shy about the way he upbraided chair umpire John Blom during his clash with the No.6 seed Cilic yesterday, calling for the tournament referee in his rage that a Cilic serve which was called long but overturned on a Hawk-Eye challenge wasn’t replayed early in the second set. “Get the referee, that’s rubbish,” he said. “I’m not having it.”

Much like his one-time mentor Andy Murray, Edmund promptly surfed his anger over that apparent injustice into a mini resurgence and a second-set tie-break, but when that went against him, his body was gone and there was no way back.

“I noticed in the third game of the third set when I broke him, he let a couple of balls go,” said Cilic, the 2016 US Open champion, who is now assured of playing his third Grand Slam final.

“I was seeing he was a bit restricted and I tried to move him around. He has played a couple of tough five-setters and four-setters here, and definitely it left scars on his body. But he has a bright future and we will see him around a lot.”

Greg Rusedski, who worked with Edmund under the auspices of the LTA as a teenager, was another predicting great things, although exactly what condition he is to lead Leon Smith’s Great Britain team with Andy Murray absent in their forbidding upcoming match against Spain remains to be seen. For now, while Edmund will be ranked in the top 25 come Monday, the Scot remains British No.1 but it is only a matter of time until Edmund takes temporary ownership of that title while Murray continues his recovery.

“The first game was huge for Kyle. He had a few break points, and both times Cilic came up with big serves on huge points,” said Rusedski. “This is one of the few guys who has been into multiple grand slam finals and he showed us his class.

“It has been a great story. Most of us thought he first match would be a tall order to get past Kevin Anderson. But he gets through and goes from strength to strength. On tour, the best he has ever done is semi-finals so that is three matches back to back. Here he has done five, got to the semi-finals of a major, only one of six British men to do so, so what a story and what a way to announce yourself to the world.

“The expectation will be on him now but he is a good kid and he and his team will be able to handle that quite well. There is only one way for him to go and that is ups. Clay is actually his favourite surface. When I was travelling around with him with James Trotman and Colin Beecher and all the guys, he would always choose to play his schedule on the clay. He is going to South America after the Davis Cup to play a few clay court events so watch out for him at the French Open.”