Injured Nadal out of Aussie Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP):
One point after his medical timeout in the fourth set, Rafael Nadal went to the rear of the court to squat and do a knee-raise, trying to stretch out his injured right leg.
Three games later - one point after his subsequent visit from the trainer - Nadal had to delay Marin Cilic's serve while trying to walk out the pain at the start of the fifth set.
After limping and wincing through two more games, and after failing to fend off a sixth break point, the 16-time major champion was out of the Australian Open.
The sixth-seeded Cilic advanced to his first semi-final in Australia since 2010 with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 2-0 victory yesterday. He will next play 49th-ranked Kyle Edmund, who beat third-ranked Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time.
"Tough moments not (for) the first time here," Nadal said. "I'm a positive person, but today is an opportunity lost to be in a semi-final for a Grand Slam and fight for an important title for me.
"It's really tough to accept."
This year's Australian Open is shaping up more as one of discovery. On the women's side, Angelique Kerber was the only major champion to reach the quarter-finals. No. 35-ranked Elise Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches, becoming the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals.
Up next for her is second-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, who finished off a 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-2 win over Carla Suarez Navarro after 1:30 a.m. Wozniacki, who is still chasing her first Grand Slam title, can also return to No. 1 for the first time in six years depending on results in Melbourne.
Cilic against Edmund was an unlikely pairing on the top half of the men's draw.
Edmund had never played in a major quarter-final, had never won five consecutive matches at tour level, had lost both of his previous matches against Dimitrov, and had never beaten a top-five player.