Rafa Nadal is out of reckoning in the Australian Open, retiring because of injury in the fifth set in the second quarter-final match at Rod Laver Arena while trailing 0-2 to Marin Cilic.
It was Cilic’s first victory against Nadal since 2009.
The two players had shared the earlier bruising four sets, two apiece 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, with Cilic on the driver’s seat in the fifth set.
Nadal took a medical time-out late in the fourth set for treatment on an apparent hip injury and was clearly struggling as he battled on in the evening match.
After being broken to fall behind 2-0 in the fifth, Nadal called it quits, and shook hands ruefully with the chair umpire and Cilic.
Sixth seed Cilic will meet Briton Kyle Edmund for a place in the final. It was Cilic’s first Australian Open semifinal in eight years.
Nadal, champion in 2009, was a doubt for the tournament because a knee injury had forced the Spanish world number one out of the warm-up Brisbane International.
But he said two days before the tournament started that he felt good, after intensive practice sessions in Melbourne.