(AP) – An injured and visibly struggling Rafael Nadal retired while trailing in the fifth set of his Australian Open quarterfinal match against Marin Cilic.
Top-ranked Rafa fended off five break points in the last game before Cilic broke his serve, then the 16-time major winner went to shake hands with the umpire and his opponent, and angrily hurled his headband into his equipment bag.
No. 6-seeded Cilic advanced to his first semifinal in Australia since 2010 with a score of 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 2-0, retired.
Rafa limped into a news conference about a half-hour later, still wincing when he stepped up onto a platform. He said he felt muscle pain in his upper right leg in the third set but played through it. In the fourth set, chasing a drop shot, he felt the pain get worse “but didn’t realize how bad.”
Rafa said he’d have medical scans Wednesday to determine the exact location and extent of the injury, which he could only describe as being high on his right leg but not in the hip.
It was only the second time Rafa had retired during a Grand Slam match — the last time was also an Australian Open quarterfinal, in 2010 against Andy Murray.
On Tuesday night, he needed a medical timeout after going down 4-1 in the fourth set for treatment on his leg.
Rafa returned but was clearly bothered by the injury, limping and taking as much time as possible as he tried to stretch between points.
He called the trainer again after losing the fourth set, and lasted only two further games.