Kyle Edmund's superb Australian Open campaign has come to an end after a straight sets defeat to Martin Cilic in the semi-finals.
Edmund, only the sixth British man to play in major semi-final in the Open Era, fought back in the second set, seemingly spurred on after a heated exchange with the match umpire, but was unable to cope with Cilic's power as the Croatian saw out a 6-2 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 victory.
Cilic, sixth in the ATP world rankings, will meet either 21-year-old Chung Hyeon or defending champion Roger Federer in Sunday's [28 January] final in Melbourne.
Edmund suffered the first break of the contest as Cilic took a 4-2 lead in the first set, securing a second break with a vicious forehand winner to seal the opener having shown no signs of nerves during an aggressive start from the 29-year-old.
Edmund offered resistance in the second, albeit stemming from somewhat unexpected circumstances. The Briton shed his reputation as one of the sport's more mild-mannered characters when he took on match empire John Blom, outraged with a decision not to replay Cilic's serve in the fifth game.
A line judge initially called a long serve before Cilic's challenge successfully saw the call overturned on Hawk Eye. "Get the referee down here," was Edmund's incensed reply before a match official came down to the court to calm the Briton down.
The episode served to fire the 23-year-old up, who responded with a vicious backhand winner to claw his way back into the set and force a tie break. Another successful challenge from Cilic however helped him hold serve and see out the tight decider.
Having never won a match from two sets down, Edmund suffered an early setback in what would be the final set, broken in the third with the Briton looking increasingly weary.
Remaining in control, Cilic cruised through the remainder of the contest to set up another possible showdown with Federer, after losing to the Swiss in the Wimbledon final last year.
"In the second set I was a bit up and down with my game and not getting enough returns back," Cilic said on court after his win. "He started to serve quite good. I stayed mentally very focused and tried to play every single point. It was crucial in the tie-break to keep that pressure on him.
"I noticed in the third game, in the third set, he let a couple of balls go. I was seeing his movement was restricted so I was trying to move the ball around."