Croatian sixth seed Marin Cilic reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open when top seed Rafael Nadal was forced to retire injured in the fifth set of their match on Tuesday night.
In a thrilling match-up, Nadal received treatment to his left thigh late in the fourth set before being forced to retire injured and hand the match to Cilic, in just under four hours, with the score at 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2, 2-0. Cilic will next face Britain’s Kyle Edmund for a place in the final.
The first set went on serve until the eighth game where Nadal broke serve to lead 5-3, going on to win the opener 6-3.
The next set went along with not much to separate the two players until the fifth game when Nadal claimed his opponents serve to lead 3-2. But Cilic came back strongly with two breaks of his own in the sixth and eighth games to win the set 6-3.
The third had to be decided by a tiebreaker after the scores were locked at 6-6, with no service breaks. And after six mini-breaks in eight points Nadal managed to claim the breaker 7-5 to go two sets to one up.
Two breaks by Cilic in the fourth and eighth game handed him the set 6-2 with Nadal looking in distress limping around the court.
In the fifth set, Cilic held serve to love then claimed Nadal’s on the sixth breakpoint to go 2-0 up, before the Spaniard called it a day to hand the sixth seed his spot in the semi-finals.