HomeUncategorizedInjured Rafael Nadal retires against Marin Cilic at Australian Open | ...

Injured Rafael Nadal retires against Marin Cilic at Australian Open | CNN

Story highlights

Cilic won 3-6 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 2-0.

Edmond defeated Dimitrov 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4

In the women’s draw, Mertens beat Svitolina 6-4, 6-0



CNN

There was more heartbreak for Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open as the world number 1 retired in the fifth set in his quarter-final against Marin Cilic.

Nadal appeared en route to the semi-finals at Melbourne Park when he won a dramatic third-set tiebreak but when he suffered an injury in the fourth set on Tuesday, it was clear his stay at the year’s first major would be over.

A lusty Nadal retired early in the fifth set โ€“ his first Grand Slam retirement against Andy Murray since the Australian Open in 2010 โ€“ and Cilic won 3-6 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 2-0.

If there was some relief for Nadal’s fans, it was that he didn’t have chronic knee problems. Instead, it looked like he had a problem with his right thigh.

Despite beating great rival Roger Federer in a classic five-set final in 2009, the 31-year-old Spaniard has really endured a tough time in Melbourne.

Injured his hamstring in the 2011 quarter-finals against David Ferrer, injured his back in the warm-up for the 2014 final against Stan Wawrinka and is now suffering from leg problems against Cilic.

Cilic next meets Kyle Edmund, who has been admirably carrying the torch for Britain in the absence of the injured Murray as he beat last year’s semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Edmund was not alone in springing a surprise on Tuesday, with rising Elise Mertens becoming the latest unexpected women’s semi-finalist in Melbourne when the Belgian beat Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-0. The fourth seed said he was also bothered by a hip injury.

Angelique Kerber, meanwhile, needed three sets to overcome an unconventional Hsieh Hsu-wei 4-6 7-5 6-2. Kerber, the former No. 1 and 2016 Australian Open winner, won her 13th match to start 2018 after a disappointing 2017.

“The way I’m playing right now, the way I’m playing, I’m loving it right now,” Edmund told reporters. โ€œI’m 23 years old, my first Grand Slam semifinal. For the first time I played on the biggest court in the world, to beat a quality player like Grigor. Of course, these are all things I am aware of.

โ€œThey are great feelings. It’s obviously not every day you play in a Grand Slam semi-final or a quarter like today.”

Henman doesn’t usually travel to Grand Slams these days as he prefers to stay at home, but he was in attendance at Rod Laver Arena to witness Edmund’s heroics.

With Murray’s absence and a second-round loss to one of the women’s favorites Johanna Kanter, world No. 49 Edmund has largely been the focus of the traveling British press, who outnumber nearly every country in sending written media to the tennis tournament.

When asked how he was coping with all the attention, Edmond said: “I know what it’s like to be Andy Murray for the last eight years!”

But Edmund also knows it’s a good position because it means he’s still in the tournament.

Edmund opened his Melbourne campaign by eliminating US Open finalist Kevin Anderson and beating Dimitrov, collecting his first top-10 win in 15 attempts. He faces more top-10 opposition in Seeley.

For more Australian Open coverage visit our tennis page

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For Dimitrov, saving a long match cost him the third seed on Tuesday. He needed five sets to beat unseeded Mackenzie MacDonald in the second round and then four to beat Andrey Rublev.

He then defeated Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in a three-set match on Sunday night.

“I’ll say all the matches here, especially I don’t think I’ve played well since day one,” said Dimitrov, the 2017 Player of the Year winner who beat Edmund in Brisbane a few weeks ago. “It took a lot of work to get back to playing a decent match again.

“Against Nick, for sure, you play the crowd, you play him, you play your expectations. There are a lot of elements in the game.

โ€œAt the same time, I was at least happy that I found the way. But behind the scenes, what you do to make yourself feel good on the court takes a lot out of you. It doesn’t matter how fit I am, I think mentally I was a bit tired.”

Grigor Dimitrov was down -- and out -- against Kyle Edmund.

Martens may be a relative unknown to casual tennis fans but his start to 2018 suggests his position in Melbourne is no fluke: the world No 36 became the first player to successfully defend his title in Hobart on the eve of the Australian Open.

The 22-year-old Belgian was due to qualify for the Australian Open in 2017 but had to miss out due to his deep run in Hobart. So this is his first time in the main draw.

“There weren’t really too many expectations,” Martens told reporters after going 0-5 down against home favorite Daria Gavrilova in the second round.

โ€œI played the first round of a qualifier, so I expected to win. Not always easy, but yeah, I didn’t expect to get to the semifinals as I progressed to the first round, the second round.”

In recent years at the Australian Open, Sloane Stephens, Eugenie Bouchard, Madison Keys and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni have all unexpectedly reached the semi-finals.

Marten celebrates

Martens grew up near Kim Clijster’s home town of Brie and idolized the four-time Grand Slam winner. He trained at Clijsters’ academy and corresponded with her for a fortnight.

“He’s been here before,” Martens said. โ€œHe has experience, so it’s always nice to talk to him. And also, for emotions, what he wants to say or do to me, yes, communicate.”

For more Australian Open coverage visit our tennis page

Martens’ next opponent is second seed Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 in the second set after Nadal’s loss.

Wozniacki moved a match closer to her first major win after losing a pair to Clijsters in the US Open final.

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