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Maiden Australia final beckons for Cilic and Edmund

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Melbourne (AFP)

A first Australian Open final beckons Thursday for either Marin Cilic or Kyle Edmund, with three of the four women in action also gunning for a new Melbourne experience.

Sixth seed Cilic made the semis eight years ago but fell to Andy Murray, with another British player again standing in his way in unseeded Edmund.

They are the evening match on Rod Laver Arena, with the two women's semi-finals beforehand. The last men's semi-final takes place on Friday.

Angelique Kerber is the only woman still in contention who has tasted Grand Slam success, beating Serena Williams in the final in 2016 and backing it up by winning the US Open later that year.

She is on a run of hot form in 2018 and comes up against world number one Simona Halep, while second seed Caroline Wozniacki faces Belgian surprise packet Elise Mertens.

Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, benefited from Rafael Nadal's injury retirement in the quarter-finals and he plans to make the most of his opportunity.

"I'm extremely pleased with my own game. Even in the other matches before the Nadal one, I played great tennis. Very high level," said the Croat.

"I want to keep going with my own game and try to lift up, keep pushing as much as I can."

Edmund has nothing lose in his best Grand Slam ever and is relishing the chance to go even further.

"I'm 23 years old, my first Grand Slam semi-final," he said.

"They're great feelings. You don't obviously play in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam every day."

Kerber, seeded 21, comes into her clash with Halep bubbling with confidence and in great touch on the back of an unbeaten singles campaign in the Hopman Cup and her triumph in the Sydney warm-up.

They both have similar styles, chasing down everything, and the German is expecting a titanic struggle.

"I think it will be a long match with a lot of long rallies. I played against her a lot of times, and it was always tough and close," she said.

Denmark's Wozniacki faces unseeded Mertens, who has made the last four in her tournament debut and is on a 10-match unbeaten run after winning the lead-up Hobart International.

"She's had a very good start to the year, she's unbeaten," said Wozniacki, who is targeting a maiden Grand Slam title after a decade of trying.

"I remember playing her in Bastad. She's a great player."

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