World no. 1, Rafael Nadal retired hurt in the fifth set of an epic Australian Open quarter-final match against Marin Cilic who now books a semi-final clash with Kyle Edmund.
Nadal was forced to hobble off with a leg issue in the deciding set, with Cilic leading 2-0 in the fifth after a gruelling near-four-hour contest.
It was only the second time in 264 Grand Slam matches that Spaniard Nadal has retired – the last being against Briton Andy Murray in the quarter-finals of the 2010 Australian Open.
Nadal, 31, had looked in good form early in the match, but was injured in the course of the match; and despite lengthy delays for treatment, he was unable to continue, as Cilic emerged winner with 3-6 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 2-0.
“In the fourth at one movement, one dropshot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn’t realise how bad, how bad was what’s going on in that moment,” Nadal said after pulling out.
“Yeah, I worked hard to be here. We did all the things that we believed were the right things to do to be ready. I think I was ready… Yeah, I was playing a match that anything could happen: could win, could lose. I’m being honest. He was playing good, too.
“It’s difficult to know exactly what it is now. It’s difficult to know exactly the muscle. This type of injury is difficult to know immediately, no? We need to wait a couple of hours. Tomorrow I am going to do a test, an MRI here, then we will know,” Nadal stated.
Croatian Cilic will now face Briton Edmund in the semifinal of the Aussie Open.
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