Tennis star Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal pulled out of the London Olympics on Thursday due to injury.

8:37AM Federer* 0-1 Berdych (*next server) Steady first service game from Berdych as he seals a hold to 30 with a big ace down the T. 8:35AM Ready? Play There used to be a bit of needle between these two after Federer hinted that injuries were part of the reason he suffered a four-set defeat to Berdych at the US Open six years ago. Back to the here and now. Berdych, wearing a backwards cap and looking like a 32-year-old playing a teenager in a film, will serve to get us under way... .@tomasberdych and @rogerfederer walk out onto @RodLaverArena for their QF! They'll meet for the 3rd successive year at Melbourne Park. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/p6yA5QUSAb— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2018 8:27AM Players are out Huge roar for Federer as he follows his opponent onto the court. After the pre-match pleasantries and knock-up, we'll be under way. 8:22AM Memory lane I remember the first time I ever saw Berdych play live. It was the Wimbledon 2010 quarter-final on centre court, and his opponent was the reigning champion Federer. What followed was a fearless display of huge hitting from the then 24-year-old Berdych, who claimed a shock four-sets win. At the time, it seemed only a matter of time before Berdych went on to win a grand slam, especially as he defeated Novak Djokovic in the next round to reach the final. As it has turned out though, Berdych has not reached a slam final since, and has never quite shed the 'nearly man' tag. Federer by contrast has added three more slams since that Wimbledon meeting eight years ago - including two in 2017 - and with Rafael Nadal exiting the tournament yesterday, he's the huge favourite to add another one here on Sunday. 8:00AM Preamble Morning all, A couple of days ago I would have seen this match as a bit of a formality. Federer leads the head to head 19-6, he’s won the last eight meetings, and he’s, well, Federer. After the last couple of days though, nothing seems so certain anymore. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have both suffered big upsets, while Kyle Edmund has made the semis and the unheralded Tennys Sandgren achieved a minor miracle in reaching the quarter-final. Maybe there is hope for Berdych after all. If we’re looking for positives for the Czech then a glance back at a couple of his meetings with Federer last year do provide a glimmer of hope. In Miami, Berdych was superb and came within a point of beating Federer, only to lose in a final set tie-break. At Wimbledon meanwhile, the pair’s semi-final was a lot closer than the straight-sets scoreline suggests. (Let's overlook the absolute shellacking Berdych was handed by Federer on this very court 12 months ago.) Tomas Berdych celebrates beating Fabio Fognini on Monday Credit: REUTERS Of more immediate relevance, Berdych comes into the match in great form, having thumped Juan Martin del Potro and then Fabio Fognini in the last two rounds. Clutching at straws? Perhaps. What we do know is that the winner of this will play the unseeded Hyeon Chung in the semi-final for which either Federer or Berdych would be the big favourite. A 20th grand slam title is agonisingly close for Federer, while a win for Berdych today would see him take a major step to only a second ever slam final, and first in eight years. The players will be on court at 8.30am GMT. 7:45AM Chung Hyeon through to semi-finals Chung Hyeon has become the youngest man to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam for eight years with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over fellow surprise package Tennys Sandgren. This has been one of the most unpredictable men's tournaments for many years and Chung joins Kyle Edmund in making it through to the last four as an unseeded player. At No 58, he is also the lowest-ranked man into the semi-finals at Melbourne Park since Marat Safin in 2004 but he went into the match as the favourite against 97th-ranked Sandgren, whose run to the last eight has been remarkable. Sandgren had only ever won two tour-level matches prior to arriving in Australia, but with the spotlight has come attention on his political views. After upsetting Dominic Thiem in the previous round, the 26-year-old denied he is a supporter of America's controversial alt-right movement but then subsequently deleted all tweets but one from his account. 7:43AM Federer vs Berdych preview Defending champion Roger Federer will shortly take on Tomas Berdych, and the 19-time Grand Slam champion has a 19-6 edge over the Czech player, including all four times they have played at Melbourne Park. "We have had some good ones over the years going back all the way to the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004," said Federer. Perhaps he will use that as motivation today - Berdych beat him in three close sets in the second round at Athens. The winners on this half of the draw now know they won't have to face top-ranked Rafael Nadal for the title. Nadal retired with a right leg injury in the fifth set of his quarter-final with Marin Cilic on Tuesday.
Roger Federer vs Tomas Berdych, Australian Open quarter-final: Live score updates
8:37AM Federer* 0-1 Berdych (*next server) Steady first service game from Berdych as he seals a hold to 30 with a big ace down the T. 8:35AM Ready? Play There used to be a bit of needle between these two after Federer hinted that injuries were part of the reason he suffered a four-set defeat to Berdych at the US Open six years ago. Back to the here and now. Berdych, wearing a backwards cap and looking like a 32-year-old playing a teenager in a film, will serve to get us under way... .@tomasberdych and @rogerfederer walk out onto @RodLaverArena for their QF! They'll meet for the 3rd successive year at Melbourne Park. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/p6yA5QUSAb— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2018 8:27AM Players are out Huge roar for Federer as he follows his opponent onto the court. After the pre-match pleasantries and knock-up, we'll be under way. 8:22AM Memory lane I remember the first time I ever saw Berdych play live. It was the Wimbledon 2010 quarter-final on centre court, and his opponent was the reigning champion Federer. What followed was a fearless display of huge hitting from the then 24-year-old Berdych, who claimed a shock four-sets win. At the time, it seemed only a matter of time before Berdych went on to win a grand slam, especially as he defeated Novak Djokovic in the next round to reach the final. As it has turned out though, Berdych has not reached a slam final since, and has never quite shed the 'nearly man' tag. Federer by contrast has added three more slams since that Wimbledon meeting eight years ago - including two in 2017 - and with Rafael Nadal exiting the tournament yesterday, he's the huge favourite to add another one here on Sunday. 8:00AM Preamble Morning all, A couple of days ago I would have seen this match as a bit of a formality. Federer leads the head to head 19-6, he’s won the last eight meetings, and he’s, well, Federer. After the last couple of days though, nothing seems so certain anymore. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have both suffered big upsets, while Kyle Edmund has made the semis and the unheralded Tennys Sandgren achieved a minor miracle in reaching the quarter-final. Maybe there is hope for Berdych after all. If we’re looking for positives for the Czech then a glance back at a couple of his meetings with Federer last year do provide a glimmer of hope. In Miami, Berdych was superb and came within a point of beating Federer, only to lose in a final set tie-break. At Wimbledon meanwhile, the pair’s semi-final was a lot closer than the straight-sets scoreline suggests. (Let's overlook the absolute shellacking Berdych was handed by Federer on this very court 12 months ago.) Tomas Berdych celebrates beating Fabio Fognini on Monday Credit: REUTERS Of more immediate relevance, Berdych comes into the match in great form, having thumped Juan Martin del Potro and then Fabio Fognini in the last two rounds. Clutching at straws? Perhaps. What we do know is that the winner of this will play the unseeded Hyeon Chung in the semi-final for which either Federer or Berdych would be the big favourite. A 20th grand slam title is agonisingly close for Federer, while a win for Berdych today would see him take a major step to only a second ever slam final, and first in eight years. The players will be on court at 8.30am GMT. 7:45AM Chung Hyeon through to semi-finals Chung Hyeon has become the youngest man to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam for eight years with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over fellow surprise package Tennys Sandgren. This has been one of the most unpredictable men's tournaments for many years and Chung joins Kyle Edmund in making it through to the last four as an unseeded player. At No 58, he is also the lowest-ranked man into the semi-finals at Melbourne Park since Marat Safin in 2004 but he went into the match as the favourite against 97th-ranked Sandgren, whose run to the last eight has been remarkable. Sandgren had only ever won two tour-level matches prior to arriving in Australia, but with the spotlight has come attention on his political views. After upsetting Dominic Thiem in the previous round, the 26-year-old denied he is a supporter of America's controversial alt-right movement but then subsequently deleted all tweets but one from his account. 7:43AM Federer vs Berdych preview Defending champion Roger Federer will shortly take on Tomas Berdych, and the 19-time Grand Slam champion has a 19-6 edge over the Czech player, including all four times they have played at Melbourne Park. "We have had some good ones over the years going back all the way to the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004," said Federer. Perhaps he will use that as motivation today - Berdych beat him in three close sets in the second round at Athens. The winners on this half of the draw now know they won't have to face top-ranked Rafael Nadal for the title. Nadal retired with a right leg injury in the fifth set of his quarter-final with Marin Cilic on Tuesday.
8:37AM Federer* 0-1 Berdych (*next server) Steady first service game from Berdych as he seals a hold to 30 with a big ace down the T. 8:35AM Ready? Play There used to be a bit of needle between these two after Federer hinted that injuries were part of the reason he suffered a four-set defeat to Berdych at the US Open six years ago. Back to the here and now. Berdych, wearing a backwards cap and looking like a 32-year-old playing a teenager in a film, will serve to get us under way... .@tomasberdych and @rogerfederer walk out onto @RodLaverArena for their QF! They'll meet for the 3rd successive year at Melbourne Park. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/p6yA5QUSAb— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2018 8:27AM Players are out Huge roar for Federer as he follows his opponent onto the court. After the pre-match pleasantries and knock-up, we'll be under way. 8:22AM Memory lane I remember the first time I ever saw Berdych play live. It was the Wimbledon 2010 quarter-final on centre court, and his opponent was the reigning champion Federer. What followed was a fearless display of huge hitting from the then 24-year-old Berdych, who claimed a shock four-sets win. At the time, it seemed only a matter of time before Berdych went on to win a grand slam, especially as he defeated Novak Djokovic in the next round to reach the final. As it has turned out though, Berdych has not reached a slam final since, and has never quite shed the 'nearly man' tag. Federer by contrast has added three more slams since that Wimbledon meeting eight years ago - including two in 2017 - and with Rafael Nadal exiting the tournament yesterday, he's the huge favourite to add another one here on Sunday. 8:00AM Preamble Morning all, A couple of days ago I would have seen this match as a bit of a formality. Federer leads the head to head 19-6, he’s won the last eight meetings, and he’s, well, Federer. After the last couple of days though, nothing seems so certain anymore. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have both suffered big upsets, while Kyle Edmund has made the semis and the unheralded Tennys Sandgren achieved a minor miracle in reaching the quarter-final. Maybe there is hope for Berdych after all. If we’re looking for positives for the Czech then a glance back at a couple of his meetings with Federer last year do provide a glimmer of hope. In Miami, Berdych was superb and came within a point of beating Federer, only to lose in a final set tie-break. At Wimbledon meanwhile, the pair’s semi-final was a lot closer than the straight-sets scoreline suggests. (Let's overlook the absolute shellacking Berdych was handed by Federer on this very court 12 months ago.) Tomas Berdych celebrates beating Fabio Fognini on Monday Credit: REUTERS Of more immediate relevance, Berdych comes into the match in great form, having thumped Juan Martin del Potro and then Fabio Fognini in the last two rounds. Clutching at straws? Perhaps. What we do know is that the winner of this will play the unseeded Hyeon Chung in the semi-final for which either Federer or Berdych would be the big favourite. A 20th grand slam title is agonisingly close for Federer, while a win for Berdych today would see him take a major step to only a second ever slam final, and first in eight years. The players will be on court at 8.30am GMT. 7:45AM Chung Hyeon through to semi-finals Chung Hyeon has become the youngest man to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam for eight years with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over fellow surprise package Tennys Sandgren. This has been one of the most unpredictable men's tournaments for many years and Chung joins Kyle Edmund in making it through to the last four as an unseeded player. At No 58, he is also the lowest-ranked man into the semi-finals at Melbourne Park since Marat Safin in 2004 but he went into the match as the favourite against 97th-ranked Sandgren, whose run to the last eight has been remarkable. Sandgren had only ever won two tour-level matches prior to arriving in Australia, but with the spotlight has come attention on his political views. After upsetting Dominic Thiem in the previous round, the 26-year-old denied he is a supporter of America's controversial alt-right movement but then subsequently deleted all tweets but one from his account. 7:43AM Federer vs Berdych preview Defending champion Roger Federer will shortly take on Tomas Berdych, and the 19-time Grand Slam champion has a 19-6 edge over the Czech player, including all four times they have played at Melbourne Park. "We have had some good ones over the years going back all the way to the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004," said Federer. Perhaps he will use that as motivation today - Berdych beat him in three close sets in the second round at Athens. The winners on this half of the draw now know they won't have to face top-ranked Rafael Nadal for the title. Nadal retired with a right leg injury in the fifth set of his quarter-final with Marin Cilic on Tuesday.
Roger Federer vs Tomas Berdych, Australian Open quarter-final: Live score updates
8:37AM Federer* 0-1 Berdych (*next server) Steady first service game from Berdych as he seals a hold to 30 with a big ace down the T. 8:35AM Ready? Play There used to be a bit of needle between these two after Federer hinted that injuries were part of the reason he suffered a four-set defeat to Berdych at the US Open six years ago. Back to the here and now. Berdych, wearing a backwards cap and looking like a 32-year-old playing a teenager in a film, will serve to get us under way... .@tomasberdych and @rogerfederer walk out onto @RodLaverArena for their QF! They'll meet for the 3rd successive year at Melbourne Park. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/p6yA5QUSAb— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2018 8:27AM Players are out Huge roar for Federer as he follows his opponent onto the court. After the pre-match pleasantries and knock-up, we'll be under way. 8:22AM Memory lane I remember the first time I ever saw Berdych play live. It was the Wimbledon 2010 quarter-final on centre court, and his opponent was the reigning champion Federer. What followed was a fearless display of huge hitting from the then 24-year-old Berdych, who claimed a shock four-sets win. At the time, it seemed only a matter of time before Berdych went on to win a grand slam, especially as he defeated Novak Djokovic in the next round to reach the final. As it has turned out though, Berdych has not reached a slam final since, and has never quite shed the 'nearly man' tag. Federer by contrast has added three more slams since that Wimbledon meeting eight years ago - including two in 2017 - and with Rafael Nadal exiting the tournament yesterday, he's the huge favourite to add another one here on Sunday. 8:00AM Preamble Morning all, A couple of days ago I would have seen this match as a bit of a formality. Federer leads the head to head 19-6, he’s won the last eight meetings, and he’s, well, Federer. After the last couple of days though, nothing seems so certain anymore. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have both suffered big upsets, while Kyle Edmund has made the semis and the unheralded Tennys Sandgren achieved a minor miracle in reaching the quarter-final. Maybe there is hope for Berdych after all. If we’re looking for positives for the Czech then a glance back at a couple of his meetings with Federer last year do provide a glimmer of hope. In Miami, Berdych was superb and came within a point of beating Federer, only to lose in a final set tie-break. At Wimbledon meanwhile, the pair’s semi-final was a lot closer than the straight-sets scoreline suggests. (Let's overlook the absolute shellacking Berdych was handed by Federer on this very court 12 months ago.) Tomas Berdych celebrates beating Fabio Fognini on Monday Credit: REUTERS Of more immediate relevance, Berdych comes into the match in great form, having thumped Juan Martin del Potro and then Fabio Fognini in the last two rounds. Clutching at straws? Perhaps. What we do know is that the winner of this will play the unseeded Hyeon Chung in the semi-final for which either Federer or Berdych would be the big favourite. A 20th grand slam title is agonisingly close for Federer, while a win for Berdych today would see him take a major step to only a second ever slam final, and first in eight years. The players will be on court at 8.30am GMT. 7:45AM Chung Hyeon through to semi-finals Chung Hyeon has become the youngest man to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam for eight years with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over fellow surprise package Tennys Sandgren. This has been one of the most unpredictable men's tournaments for many years and Chung joins Kyle Edmund in making it through to the last four as an unseeded player. At No 58, he is also the lowest-ranked man into the semi-finals at Melbourne Park since Marat Safin in 2004 but he went into the match as the favourite against 97th-ranked Sandgren, whose run to the last eight has been remarkable. Sandgren had only ever won two tour-level matches prior to arriving in Australia, but with the spotlight has come attention on his political views. After upsetting Dominic Thiem in the previous round, the 26-year-old denied he is a supporter of America's controversial alt-right movement but then subsequently deleted all tweets but one from his account. 7:43AM Federer vs Berdych preview Defending champion Roger Federer will shortly take on Tomas Berdych, and the 19-time Grand Slam champion has a 19-6 edge over the Czech player, including all four times they have played at Melbourne Park. "We have had some good ones over the years going back all the way to the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004," said Federer. Perhaps he will use that as motivation today - Berdych beat him in three close sets in the second round at Athens. The winners on this half of the draw now know they won't have to face top-ranked Rafael Nadal for the title. Nadal retired with a right leg injury in the fifth set of his quarter-final with Marin Cilic on Tuesday.
Rafael Nadal expects to return to action as scheduled in Acapulco next month after a scan revealed a tear to his inner right hip muscle. The world No 1 suffered the injury during his quarter-final clash with Marin Cilic at the Australian Open on Tuesday and was forced to withdraw two games into the final set. Nadal looked thoroughly disconsolate but the good news is the injury is not serious and it is anticipated he will be able to return to the court in two weeks, with the ATP Tour event in Acapulco beginning on February 26. A statement from Nadal's publicist read: "Rafa Nadal conducted an MRI test earlier this morning at a hospital in Melbourne. The MRI showed a grade one injury of his Illiopsoas on his right leg. Australian Open 2018 prize money "He will be resting the next days once back in Spain and will start with anti-inflammatory physiotherapy. He will start his rehabilitation and pre-adaptation process to the tennis court in two weeks, starting progressively his training and practice. "Three weeks is the normal time to totally recover and he will resume his tennis schedule as planed playing Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami."
Rafael Nadal sidelined for three weeks with hip injury but should return in Acapulco next month
Rafael Nadal expects to return to action as scheduled in Acapulco next month after a scan revealed a tear to his inner right hip muscle. The world No 1 suffered the injury during his quarter-final clash with Marin Cilic at the Australian Open on Tuesday and was forced to withdraw two games into the final set. Nadal looked thoroughly disconsolate but the good news is the injury is not serious and it is anticipated he will be able to return to the court in two weeks, with the ATP Tour event in Acapulco beginning on February 26. A statement from Nadal's publicist read: "Rafa Nadal conducted an MRI test earlier this morning at a hospital in Melbourne. The MRI showed a grade one injury of his Illiopsoas on his right leg. Australian Open 2018 prize money "He will be resting the next days once back in Spain and will start with anti-inflammatory physiotherapy. He will start his rehabilitation and pre-adaptation process to the tennis court in two weeks, starting progressively his training and practice. "Three weeks is the normal time to totally recover and he will resume his tennis schedule as planed playing Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami."
Spain's Rafael Nadal receives treatment from a trainer during his quarterfinal against Croatia's Marin Cilic at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
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Spain's Rafael Nadal receives treatment from a trainer during his quarterfinal against Croatia's Marin Cilic at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Rafael Nadal's team said the Spanish star was expected to be fully recovered in three weeks from a torn inner hip muscle and could resume playing in Acapulco late next month (AFP Photo/SAEED KHAN)
Rafael Nadal's team said the Spanish star was expected to be fully recovered in three weeks from a torn inner hip muscle and could resume playing in Acapulco late next month
Rafael Nadal's team said the Spanish star was expected to be fully recovered in three weeks from a torn inner hip muscle and could resume playing in Acapulco late next month (AFP Photo/SAEED KHAN)
Rafael Nadal was forced to retire, Grigor Dimitrov was upset, and Caroline Wozniacki was made to worry on another thrilling day of Australian Open tennis.
Day nine review - Nadal injured, Dimitrov shocked and Wozniacki tested
Rafael Nadal was forced to retire, Grigor Dimitrov was upset, and Caroline Wozniacki was made to worry on another thrilling day of Australian Open tennis.
Rafael Nadal was forced to retire, Grigor Dimitrov was upset, and Caroline Wozniacki was made to worry on another thrilling day of Australian Open tennis.
Day nine review - Nadal injured, Dimitrov shocked and Wozniacki tested
Rafael Nadal was forced to retire, Grigor Dimitrov was upset, and Caroline Wozniacki was made to worry on another thrilling day of Australian Open tennis.
Rafael Nadal was forced to retire, Grigor Dimitrov was upset, and Caroline Wozniacki was made to worry on another thrilling day of Australian Open tennis.
Day nine review - Nadal injured, Dimitrov shocked and Wozniacki tested
Rafael Nadal was forced to retire, Grigor Dimitrov was upset, and Caroline Wozniacki was made to worry on another thrilling day of Australian Open tennis.
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
Injured Rafael Nadal retires in fifth set against Marin Cilic as Croatian sets up showdown with Kyle Edmund at Australian Open
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
Injured Rafael Nadal retires in fifth set against Marin Cilic as Croatian sets up showdown with Kyle Edmund at Australian Open
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
Injured Rafael Nadal retires in fifth set against Marin Cilic as Croatian sets up showdown with Kyle Edmund at Australian Open
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
Injured Rafael Nadal retires in fifth set against Marin Cilic as Croatian sets up showdown with Kyle Edmund at Australian Open
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
Injured Rafael Nadal retires in fifth set against Marin Cilic as Croatian sets up showdown with Kyle Edmund at Australian Open
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
Injured Rafael Nadal retires in fifth set against Marin Cilic as Croatian sets up showdown with Kyle Edmund at Australian Open
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
Injured Rafael Nadal retires in fifth set against Marin Cilic as Croatian sets up showdown with Kyle Edmund at Australian Open
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
Injured Rafael Nadal retires in fifth set against Marin Cilic as Croatian sets up showdown with Kyle Edmund at Australian Open
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
Injured Rafael Nadal retires in fifth set against Marin Cilic as Croatian sets up showdown with Kyle Edmund at Australian Open
After being forced to retire from a grand-slam match for only the second time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal redoubled his calls last night for the players’ health to be better protected. At the time of his withdrawal, Nadal was trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Over the previous half-hour, he had undergone treatment on what appeared to be a groin or upper thigh injury, but it failed to improve his movement discernibly. In fact, he was limping more heavily with each passing game, and eventually had no alternative but to shake hands. Afterwards, Nadal was vague about the exact nature of the problem, saying that he could not be sure until he undergoes scans. But he continued to complain that tennis’s authorities are showing insufficient regard for players’ bodies. It is a point he has made many times over the years, most recently on the eve of this tournament. “Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on,” said Nadal. “Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don't know if we keep playing on these very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.” Nadal had started the match in barnstorming fashion, striking no fewer than 17 clean winners in the opening set. Had he continued at this breakneck pace, he might have made it through in double-quick time, maintaining the possibility of another grand-slam final against Roger Federer. Nadal signs off in Melbourne after suffering with a hip complaint during the fourth set Credit: AFP Instead Nadal’s intensity dropped, allowing Cilic – who was serving bombs throughout – to level at one set apiece. And this proved to be crucial, for it was in the fourth set that something tore near the top of his right leg. “I start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third [set],” said Nadal. “But playing normal, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one drop-shot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad. “I am a positive person,” added Nadal, whose only previous retirement at a major had come against Andy Murray in the quarter-final of this event in 2010. “But today is an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me, no? Nadal was grimacing between points Credit: AFP “In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it's really tough to accept. It's a negative thing, but I don't going to complain because happened to me more than others. But who knows, if I didn't have all these injuries...” We can probably assume that, without the chronic handicaps of vulnerable knees and a misshapen bone in his foot, Nadal would lead the grand-slam winners’ table with more than 20 titles. As it is, his absence would seem to strengthen Federer’s chances of landing a 20th major of his own on Sunday, assuming that Federer can squeeze past Tomas Berdych today. Unfortunate scenes here with the world No.1 Rafael #Nadal retiring hurt in the QF ��@Cilic_Marin progresses through to the SF. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/IEjPruzvdi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Cilic had hardly been talked about as a potential champion here, but his sheer power – which manifested in a remarkable tally of 83 clean winners – surely played a part in making Nadal’s night so miserable. He served 20 aces and swung with a freedom he has rarely achieved since his charge to the 2014 US Open title. Cilic thus progresses to a semi-final against Kyle Edmund, which will bring together two of the fieriest forehands in the game. “Kyle had amazing run here,” Cilic said. “He's also very entertaining to watch. Big hitter, great serve, great forehand. Plays great on the hard courts. “For me, another good opportunity. Obviously on the paper probably easier to play him than Rafa. But still he [Edmund] deserved a lot to be here at the spot where he is.” 12:21PM Match was evenly balanced before Nadal injury Greg Rusedski in his post-match analysis feels that Cilic was spurred into action when the chair umpire handed him a time violation in the second set as Nadal broke for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian fuming at the telling off won the next four games to level the match. His aggressive approach began to frustrate Nadal long before the Spaniard suffered his injury during the fourth set and should be commended for his positive play throughout. It's a shame Cilic won through this way, but I support Rusedski's thinking that the match was very much in the balance before injury struck. 12:14PM Cilic next for Edmund So Edmund now knows he'll face the No 6 seed in the semi-finals on Thursday morning (UK time). As mentioned earlier, Edmund has lost his sole meeting with the Croatian at the Shanghai Masters last autumn. Nadal, meanwhile, won't lose his world No 1 ranking regardless of the outcome in Melbourne. If Federer defends his title and wins a 20th grand slam title, he'll only be a mere 155 points off his great rival. 12:09PM Cilic speaks "It was an unbelievable performance from both of us and it's really unfortunate for Rafa. He always gives his best and it's unfortunate for him to end this way. "I was really paying attention to these first couple of games (in the final set) and trying to keep my intensity up. It was important for me to continue with my own game and not look across the net." Sad to see @RafaelNadal go out with an injury like that. Did well to fight on through the pain but was clearly in much pain. He hates to retire but the wise long term decision to retire. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 12:04PM Nadal signs off Not the way Cilic would've wanted to win the match with the sight of Nadal hobbling to the net to shake hands and concede defeat. Cilic was pushing Nadal to the limit before the Spaniard's injury and had both been fighting fit it was a tough call on who was going to win through. 12:03PM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-2 Cilic* Plenty of cheers ring round Rod Laver as Nadal sprints (of sorts) down to his end. Could this be the final game of his tournament? He'll be loathe to retire but he has to think of the long-term implications of staying out there. He still is able to pull out the odd crowd-pleasing winner or two as he saves a couple of break points with two forehand winners. His father is on the phone to someone in his corner. Cilic keeps the pressure on Nadal by forcing him to scamper into the net. The Spaniard does his best to chase down but hasn't the legs. It's a hard watch as Nadal grimaces on the baseline as he prepares to send down another serve in an attempt to save break point No 5. He's got the sympathy vote on Rod Laver as they cheer another break saved. Cilic is watching Nadal between points now. The Croatian has to be mindful of not letting his concentration drop. A swing and strike into the tramlines hands Cilic break point No 6 and he makes it count with a rasping passing winner. Nadal walks over to the chair umpire to shake hands. He just couldn't go on, Cilic has been handed the win. CILIC IS THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS 11:54AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal had another quick rub-down during the end of the last set, trying to get some motion back in his right-hip socket. His movement is clearly impaired and Cilic is looking to rattle through his opening service game. He races to three games points and lands a couple of aces for a comfortable love hold. 11:50AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-6 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal thinks twice about even attempting to get to one service return winner from Cilic as the Spaniard grimaces while going through his service rotation. Cilic keeps knocking on the door, drawing his opponent back but Nadal is doing just enough to stay afloat - for now. Cilic could let this game go and just come out and serve for the set, but it's not his style. And he's right to do so. His persistence pays off as he forces set point. And Cilic levels for the match with another sweeping forehand down the line. We have a decider. CILIC BREAKS TO WIN FOURTH SET. Stats from the fourth set Credit: Australian Open 11:45AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic has little sympathy for Nadal as he moves the Spaniard from front to back now. Nadal shows little sign of injury as he makes the chase and then turns on his heels to retrieve the long ball. His hot-dog reply is a crowd pleaser but Cilic mops up at the net to stay on track this game. Cilic is well set at two game points but slaps into the net as Nadal grumbles towards his corner. Cilic won't allow Nadal to hang around in the game as he slaps another winner whizzing past his opponent. Nadal will serve to stay in the fourth set. 11:41AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 2-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal pulls up on the opening point. He's struggling big time out there but Nadal very rarely retires. He played with one leg during the Aussie Open final against Stan Wawrinka in 2014. A penny for Kyle Edmund's thoughts right now. The set is racing away from Nadal as he stares down at three break points. Cilic swings and misses at the first two as Nadal gets a couple of first serves in. And Nadal battles well to save a third-straight break point by moving his rival from the depths of the court to the front as Cilic fails to charge down a drop shot. Five straight points later and Nadal drills a forehand winner down the line. Problem, what problem, er? 11:36AM Nadal treated for hip complaint Nadal calls for his trainer as he rubs the top of his right hip. He's handed a couple of tablets and discusses the issue with his trainer. A listen to the on court-mic suggests that Nadal started feeling the problem as he charged down one shot. A three-minute medical later and he's ready to go again. 11:32AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Great hitting from both men again as Nadal works his rival from side-to-side before engineering enough room to pull the trigger. The quality in this match has moved up a couple of gears now as Cilic makes a superb pick up at the net and executes a sublime drop shot. He backs it up by pulling off a backhand winner across court which is too good for Nadal. Cilic still believes he can win this contest. And if he continues to play in the same vein, you have to say he has more than a chance of getting back into this one. 11:29AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) What a point. The pair haven't engaged in two many baseline duels, Cilic doesn't want to get lulled into them and you can see why as Cilic blinks first at the end of a 23-shot slug-fest. Cilic doesn't know when he's beaten. He's been able to carve out some great angles today and one forehand has Nadal stretching to make his reply. He sends over a backhand but it's long. Cilic sets up break point, and this time he makes the most of his opportunity, rolling his wrist over another forehand winner down the line. CILIC BREAKS. 11:22AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Both men have started their service games off strongly at the beginning of the fourth. Nadal keeps the pressure on Cilic by edging back from 30-0 down and 40-15 behind. It's paying off. Cilic slaps a forehand into the middle for deuce. He stops Nadal's momentum by smashing an overhead out wide but then Cilic's seventh double fault of the match hands Nadal another free point. Luckily for the Croatian he's been so good at the net together as he mobs up well to dispatch a volley which lands deep, but well in still. 11:17AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Oor er. What a reaction from Cilic who flashes a service return right past Nadal for 0-30. The clock ticks past the three-hour mark as Nadal hangs in to reel in Cilic. The Croatian isn't able to get enough on a couple of well-placed first serves and Nadal is on the board this set. Credit: AFP 11:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Physically Cilic looks well set to challenge Nadal but mentally how will he hold up after losing that vital breaker? The early signs are good. Back-to-back aces settle the Croatian. 11:08AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 Cilic TIEBREAK CONT. What a return from Nadal out wide and Cilic can't make the pick up at the net (4-3). A baby is crying in the stands. It's unsettling for Nadal who shapes to serve. He reels away and then goes through his rhythm again. He offers an arm to his rival in way of apology for the delay. No worries says Cilic as he fires down a thunderous forehand winner for four-all. But Cilic can't repeat the feat on his backhand wing and Nadal edges back infront (5-4). Cilic has Nadal put on his sprinting boots chasing down a drop shot but without success (5-5) and after setting himself up well with some booming forehands, Cilic over-eggs one to hand Nadal set point (6-5). That's gonna hurt for Cilic. Nadal does take the third set with an overhead smash into the advantage court. He's fist-pumping a plenty. The crowd are on their feet. What a tie-break. NADAL WINS THIRD SET TIE-BREAK. Credit: AFP 11:02AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic TIEBREAK Nadal up and running with a solid first serve (1-0) and then has a mini-break when Cilic strikes a backhand into the net (2-0). Cilic keeps his cool to send an out-swinging first serve which is too good for Nadal to control (2-1). And a flashing backhand winner draws the Croatian level (2-2). What a pass from the big man! Another backhand winner moves Cilic in front for the first time in the breaker (2-3). He really looks like he has the self-belief to carry him through. But Nadal heads to the change of ends level when Cilic strikes long (3-3). Stats you need: Cilic bidding to be first palindromic #AusOpen champ since Seles 22 years ago.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 23, 2018 10:57AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 6-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic on fire during this service game. He drills a beautiful forehand down the line to bring up three game points. He wraps up a love game. Who are you backing in the breaker? 10:56AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Solid serving from Nadal as he lifts his first serve percentage to 87% for this set compared to Cilic's 64%. Only problem has been the Spaniard has won 69% on his first serve while Cilic has won 81%. This set is heading for a tie-break it seems. 10:53AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal takes advantage of a second serve, injecting pace into the rally, striking a winner and increasing the noise levels in the stands. The stuttering nature of this match hasn't engaged the spectators on Rod Laver Arena. But now the spectators have something to cheer about. Nadal has a set point chance. Cilic is all over rival from the net. Nadal is hanging in for dear life at the baseline, swatting a couple of returns back before Cilic puts the nail in the coffin. Well saved Marin. The Croatian manages to steer his way of of danger. We remain on serve. 10:45AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Steady does it for Cilic who unsettles Nadal's flow again. The Croatian can't get up and under a backhand to inflict further pain when well placed at 30-all and a wide forehand into the tramlines ensures the third set remains on serve. It remains nip and tuck out there. 10:41AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal tries a different tactic on the Cilic serve, shifting his body one way in anticipation of an out-swinging serve only to watch the Croatian pass him down the middle. Cilic does finally go for the out-swinging first serve which brings up a comfortable hold. 10:36AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic has shown great defensive work and superb court movement to frustrate Cilic in the second and third sets. It's not going all Nadal's way and the Spaniard is having to change his approach to try and penetrate Cilic's rearguard action. At least the world no 1's service game is back on song. But from a game-winning position, he misses a regulation volley from close quarters. He looks agonishingly to the sky. Cilic jumps on the error by flashing a forehand winner down the line during the next point for deuce. And when he steps in to flick a backhand winner down the line, Nadal will be replying that missed volley over and over in his head. Nadal saves the break point with a timely first serve but then struggles to make a pick up out wide when Cilic sends his rival out wide to bring up break point No 2. Clever play from Nadal as he rushes the net to punch a volley into the advantage court. He didn't have any problems there. And he's given a let off when a Cilic backhand strikes the tape but lands in his half. Cilic isn't to be overawed by his opponent as he forces a fourth deuce but he can't execute a drop shot and now it's Nadal being able to breath a sigh of relief. That was a mighty let-off for the world No 1. 10:28AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) The big-serving Croatian is motoring now with his fifth ace in his last seven points. Nadal is struggling to read a Cilic first serve but takes advantage of a slower second serve to draw an error from his opponent to get on the board. It's only a consolation for the Spaniard. 10:24AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal's service rhythm has been restored with a hold to love for the first time in the third set. This match remains too close to call. 10:20AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Two hours on court and Cilic is brimming with confidence and self-belief. It takes a slight knock when he sends an overhead long and then from a position of control and authority the Croatian sends down a double to allow Nadal to hang around at deuce. Cilic is back on the frontfoot with his 10th ace and then secures the hold with an unreturnable first serve. 10:14AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic is striking the ball so well right now, leaving Nadal all at sea on the baseline. It's a tactic that Cilic very rarely is able to execute well against the Spaniard but he mixes it up by advancing to the net where possible and dispatches a volley to leave Nadal flustered. Oor e. The Spaniard is well and truly rattled as he drags a forehand wide to hand Cilic another break point. Nadal saves the danger with some deep groundstrokes which forces his opponent to strike long. Nadal tries to again to inject some life and noise from the crowd by pumping his fist. It's done the trick this game as he edges back in front for the set. #Nadal seems to have lost his rhythm. Strange errors creeping into his game. Possibly because #Cilic is finding his forehand early and controlling points. #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 10:08AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic crucially slaps a venomous volley into the corner to put the brakes on Nadal's charge at 15-30. The Croatian steers his way through another sticky patch to come through the other side with three straight points. Great composure and a cool head from the sixth seed. 10:03AM Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic won 9/11 shots at the net during the second set and it's an aggressive approach he needs to maintain at the start of the third to keep the heat on. Nadal's energy and confidence levels are restored as he chases down a shot off the tape to set up two game points. That got the crowd involved and the Spaniard loves to feed off their vibrancy. It helps him over the line here and stops Cilic's four-game winning streak. 9:55AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-6 Cilic (*denotes next server) It's slightly flat on Rod Laver Arena as spectators are taken aback by how this set has swung away from Nadal. Cilic isn't showing signs of tightening up either as he rushes to two set points courtesy of ace No 7. Cilic puffs out his cheeks after missing the first one. But an ace draws him level for the match. Game on. CILIC WINS SECOND SET. Huge turn around in this match! #Cilic takes the 2nd set and levels the match after being down a break. Relaxed yet aggressive tennis from the big man has made all the difference. #Nadal has a fight on his hands now! #AusOpen— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) January 23, 2018 9:51AM Nadal 6-3, 3-5 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal looks to be heading for a comfortable hold before Cilic leaps on a couple of second serves to send down two winners on either flank for 30-all. Nadal is all over a short reply from Cilic to quell the flow. The Croatian is unsettling Nadal's rhythm here and starting to cause the Spaniard a few more problems. He has another break point here to give him breathing space in the set. And he does, and how. A fantastic forehand winner is struck at such an acute angle that Nadal gets his racket head on but can only steer into the net. CILIC BREAKS. 9:44AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-4 Cilic (*denotes next server) After a break apiece, normal service resumes as Cilic rattles through a love hold with back-to-back aces. 9:42AM Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) McEnroe feels Cilic was harshly treated in that last service game by being handed a time violation. "This guy is hard enough to beat without throwing that into the mix," he says. He has a point, but it has felt that Cilic has taken over Djokovic's mantle for most balls bounced between service rotations. Back to the action and the Croatian has a chance to break back instantly. Nadal reels Cilic is from 0-30 down but then stops a three-point rot with a winner into the corner. Nadal's game level takes another dip as a double fault after a second deuce hand Cilic another break point. But again the Croatian can't capitalise. Thankfully for him, another bite at the cherry is round the corner. This time he takes it with a service return forehand winner. We're back on serve this set. CILIC BREAKS. Game ��@cilic_marin breaks back! 3-3 early in the second set.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ixaE45RUzc— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:33AM Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal injects some pace during a lengthy rally to throw Cilic off his stride. It edges the Spaniard to 15-30. Nadal anticipates well on the next point as he mops up a volley from Cilic to strike a winner down the line for two break points. Cilic is handed a time violation against Nadal of all people as he takes an age going through his next service rhythm. And it throws his concentration completely. He sends down a double to hand Nadal the crucial break in the second. NADAL BREAKS. Cilic was handed a time violation in the second set Credit: Reuters 9:28AM Nadal 6-3, 2-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal drops his first point off his serve this set when Cilic steps in court to smash an overhead out of the world No 1's reach. Cilic clenches his fist at rattling another forehand winner zipping past Nadal for 30-all and then has a break point when Nadal dumps a regulation forehand into the middle. It's only the second break point Cilic has earned this match. He couldn't take that one and is yet to punish Nadal as he loops a reply wide. Nadal backs up solid play at the net with good movement from the baseline during the next point to force Cilic into an error. Nadal holds. 9:21AM Nadal* 6-3, 1-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal has a chance early doors of a break when he crucially steps in to dispatch a backhand winner across court for his first break of this set. Cilic mops up the danger, patrolling the net to smash an overhead winner and then turns the game in his favour with an ace down the middle. He sustains the pressure on Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to go long and retreats to his chair with a spring in his step. FUN FACT! ��@RafaelNadal doesn't hand his towel back to the #VegemiteBallkids until he walks past the @Melbourne sign. Every. Single. Time. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/nhztbp08g4— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 9:18AM Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Nadal serving well, mixing up his play and races to a love game. 9:13AM Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic recovers from dropping that first set as a well-taken backhand volley assists his progress to two game points. A commanding forehand into the corner moves the sixth seed ahead in the second set. 9:08AM Nadal 6-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Cilic shows great defensive play, forcing Nadal into one more shot and his persistence pays off as the Spaniard slaps one groundstroke into the tramlines. Nadal keeps the next rally short and to the point, drilling a backhand back across Cilic which the Croatian acknowledges in his own way was too good. The No 6 seed makes Nadal fight for the set, flashing a service return winner back across Nadal but then watches on as Nadal flicks his own winner deep into the corner to bring up set point. Cilic keeps pushing hard, striking another winner as the quality in this match continues to grow. An ace down the T allows Nadal of a second set point but Cilic again responds with a punched winner, this time off the backhand wing. Nadal finally gets the first set under his belt when he engineers enough room from a serve out wide to deliver a winner down the line after 54 minutes of play. NADAL TAKES FIRST SET. Credit: Reuters 9:00AM Nadal* 5-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Good opening here for Nadal as Cilic shanks a forehand to hand the Spaniard a mini-break at 0-30. Nadal makes it three break points by stepping into a short ball and flicking a backhand winner down the line. Now he needs to make these points count. Cilic saves the first with an ace. But he strikes wide with his next forehand to hand Nadal the break. NADAL BREAKS. 8:56AM Nadal 4-3 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Pressure now on Nadal's serve now as Cilic draws the error to reel the Spaniard to 30-all. Nadal crucially wins the next point but then a double fault continues a below-par period to this contest. A forehand error from Nadal gifts Cilic a break point but he saves it in style with an ace down the T. He enjoyed that one. A solid first serve out wide swings the game in his favour but Cilic leaps on a Nadal return that clips the tape to hang around. Nadal takes his chances at the net and it pays off during the next point. He spins and pumps his fist as he successfully negotiations his own way out of a brief sticky patch. 8:48AM Nadal* 3-3 Cilic (*denotes next server) Nadal lines up again around 15 yards behind the baseline as he settles down for a Cilic first serve. He takes advantage of a second serve, working enough space to drill a forehand winner down the line but then looks on as a Cilic serve-volley brings him level. The Spaniard stands back for a Cilic serve this time and the Croatian takes control of the point before floating a forehand wide. Nadal continues to take his chance from behind the baseline, but Cilic has him scampering out wide with a forehand pinged to the corner. Nadal berates himself but is able to stay in the game when Cilic drags another groundstroke wide. The Croatian struggling to close out the game and hands Nadal a gift of a break point with his first double fault of the match. Cilic composes himself, sends down a strong and deep first serve which is too good but then hands back the advantage to Nadal with a sloppy ground stroke. This time Nadal is forced out wide and can't lift his backhand over the net. Nadal sets up break point No 3 with a flick of his left-wrist to send a service return whizzing past Cilic. But again, he can't back up his advantage and loops the next return long much to his annoyance. After seven deuces and after saving five break points, Cilic finally strings two points together for a crucial hold. 8:33AM Nadal 3-2 Cilic* (*denotes next server) The first lengthy duel of the match goes Cilic's way when Nadal sends one forehand long. The Spaniard makes up it on the next point, striking a winner down the line while leaning backwards. A trusty out-swinging first serve sets Nadal up to dispatch another winner for two game points. He misses the first but a solid first serve gets him over the line. .@RafaelNadal has not lost to a Top 10 seed at a Grand Slam since falling to No.1 seed Djokovic in the quarterfinals at 2015 Roland-Garros. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/7Qu2uWArIp— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 8:29AM Nadal* 2-2 Cilic (*denotes next server) The outswinging ace comes up trumps for Cilic now but then the Croatian is over-zealous with his next stroke play as he tightens up hitting through a forehand. Another out-swinging first serve allows Cilic enough room to send a backhand winner into the opposite corner but Nadal reels in his opponent again by rushing the net and smashing a volley home. Classy play from Cilic at a crucial moment at 30-all as the sixth seed floats a perfectly-placed backhand on the line and out of Nadal's reach. An unforced error allows Nadal to hang around but an overhead backhand winner and ace gives Cilic breathing space. 8:23AM Nadal 2-1 Cilic* (*denotes next server) Boom. Nadal sends down his first ace of the match out wide. Cilic gets a racket head on the next outswinging first serve but can't get it back but then shows good court movement to charge down a drop shot to deliver a winner. That's the first point won off either man's serve so far. Two forehand winners down the line ensure Nadal doesn't allow Cilic a sniff of another point. 8:19AM Nadal* 1-1 Cilic (*denotes next server) Cilic opens up with an outswinging first serve which forces Nadal well behind the baseline. He follows it with a zipping forehand winnner across court and secures his own love game when Nadal can't control a couple of serves. Staff and I have just noticed Nadal is standing in Margaret Court Arena when receiving serve. Deduct point please #AusOpen— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) January 23, 2018 8:17AM Nadal 1-0 Cilic* (*denotes next server) A sleveless Nadal serves first and is aggressive from the off. Solid serving from the Spaniard and he's up and running with a love game. 8:14AM Goran Ivanisevic on how Cilic can beat Nadal Cilic's former coach offers his words of wisdom: “He’s one of the best players the past couple of years but Rafa is going to be tough for him. “Rafa is looking strong, hitting the ball well and the only chance for Cilic to win is if he’s extra aggressive and he needs to serve well. If he doesn’t serve well, there’s no chance.” 8:07AM Here come the players Cilic enters the Rod Laver first followed by the world No 1 . Cilic last reached the semi-final in Melbourne back in 2010 while Nadal, of course, was a finalist last time out. It's 1️⃣ v 6️⃣. It's ���� v ����. It's a semifinal at stake. And it's going to be good. Who have you got between @RafaelNadal and @cilic_marin? #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/PeH1axlgwi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 7:56AM All hail the first-timers The Aussie Open has been all about first-timers. Not only has Edmund reached a first major semi-final, but in the women's draw, Elise Mertens earlier today booked her place in the last four of a slam in her debut at the season-opening major. Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to extend her winning streak to 10 matches. She's also the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semi-finals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home. Mertens dominated throughout against Svitolina, who also reached her first quarter-final in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago. Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year. 7:23AM Who will be next for Edmund? So after Kyle Edmund's exceptional win over Grigor Dimitrov early this morning, we will find out in the next few hours or so just who the Briton will take on in Thursday's semi-final. World No 1 Rafael Nadal faces 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first evening match on Rod Laver Arena for the right to play Edmund. Cilic has lost five of his last six matches against Nadal including one in Melbourne seven years ago when the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash in straight-sets. In fact, Cilic, last year's Wimbledon finalist, has only ever taken one set off his rival put that was back in 2015 on the indoor Basle courts. Cilic has dropped two sets en route to his place in the last eight in Melbourne while Nadal has lost only one. Edmund has played and lost once to Nadal - that meeting coming on clay in Monte Carlo last spring. Similarly, Edmund holds the same record against Cilic. The Croatian proving victorious in the third round of the Shanghai Masters last October.
Rafael Nadal suggested the ATP should review its hectic calendar to avoid injuries but Marin Cilic feels players must look after themselves.
Players must manage their own schedules, says Cilic
Rafael Nadal suggested the ATP should review its hectic calendar to avoid injuries but Marin Cilic feels players must look after themselves.
In 2010, Andy Murray went through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the first time when Rafael Nadal retired with and injury. His opponent in the final four was Marin Cilic. He then met Roger Federer in the final. Eight years on, Nadal retired with injury from a grand slam match for only the second time in his career. It was also at the Australian Open, and the result is that a British player will once again be playing against Marin Cilic for a place in the final. Roger Federer might again be waiting. This time though, Murray is at home recovering from hip surgery, and the British man playing Cilic is Kyle Edmund. After a tumultuous day of tennis, presenters Catherine Whitaker and David Law, who are in Melbourne for Eurosport and BBC Radio 5 Live respectively, sat down with Telegraph tennis correspondent Simon Briggs to try to make sense of what they had seen. Will Edmund go another step and reach the final? What do the team think will happen between Madison Keys and Angelique Kerber, and Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova on Wednesday? Will Tomas Berdych be able to turn his rivalry against Roger Federer around? And why is everyone so angry at Tennys Sandgren, who takes on Hyeon Chung for a place in the semis? All explained on the latest Tennis Podcast. The Australian Open will be live on Eurosport from midnight, with radio commentary available on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. The Tennis Podcast will be produced daily throughout the Australian Open, presented by Catherine Whitaker (Eurosport) and David Law (BBC 5 Live), in association with Telegraph Sport and Eurosport. How to listen: Acast - https://ec.yimg.com/ec?url=http%3a%2f%2fpo.st%2fTP385&t=1516783307&sig=HfvXJgfp249J8kzQJGbRsQ--~D Download - http://po.st/TP385Download iPads / iPhones - http://po.st/TP385Apple Android - rss.acast.com/thetennispodcast (paste into a podcast app like ‘Overcast’)
Tennis Podcast: Kyle Edmund's run mirrors Andy Murray's, but can he follow him to a Roger Federer final?
In 2010, Andy Murray went through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the first time when Rafael Nadal retired with and injury. His opponent in the final four was Marin Cilic. He then met Roger Federer in the final. Eight years on, Nadal retired with injury from a grand slam match for only the second time in his career. It was also at the Australian Open, and the result is that a British player will once again be playing against Marin Cilic for a place in the final. Roger Federer might again be waiting. This time though, Murray is at home recovering from hip surgery, and the British man playing Cilic is Kyle Edmund. After a tumultuous day of tennis, presenters Catherine Whitaker and David Law, who are in Melbourne for Eurosport and BBC Radio 5 Live respectively, sat down with Telegraph tennis correspondent Simon Briggs to try to make sense of what they had seen. Will Edmund go another step and reach the final? What do the team think will happen between Madison Keys and Angelique Kerber, and Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova on Wednesday? Will Tomas Berdych be able to turn his rivalry against Roger Federer around? And why is everyone so angry at Tennys Sandgren, who takes on Hyeon Chung for a place in the semis? All explained on the latest Tennis Podcast. The Australian Open will be live on Eurosport from midnight, with radio commentary available on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. The Tennis Podcast will be produced daily throughout the Australian Open, presented by Catherine Whitaker (Eurosport) and David Law (BBC 5 Live), in association with Telegraph Sport and Eurosport. How to listen: Acast - http://po.st/TP385 Download - http://po.st/TP385Download iPads / iPhones - http://po.st/TP385Apple Android - rss.acast.com/thetennispodcast (paste into a podcast app like ‘Overcast’)
Kyle Edmund can never have endured a longer 20 seconds. When Grigor Dimitrov challenged the “out” call on his final slice backhand, Edmund looked up at the big screen and covered his mouth with his palm. Yet the Hawk-Eye ruling, like the result itself, was categorical. The ball was long, by a couple of inches. Dimitrov, the No. 3 seed and recent ATP Finals champion, was out of the Australian Open. And Great Britain had a new sporting hero. On Thursday, Edmund will play Marin Cilic for a place in the Melbourne final, after Rafael Nadal made a dramatic exit from the tournament last night. This was a heartbreaking moment for Nadal’s millions of fans, yet it can only have improved Edmund’s chances of becoming the most unexpected slam finalist since Martin Verkerk at the 2003 French Open. Hold on a minute, though. We are getting ahead of ourselves. Simply to reach the semi-finals is an incredible feat. Andy Murray, with no fewer than 21 appearances at this stage of majors, might have made it look easy. But many fine players have never gone so far, from Nick Kyrgios to David Goffin. And then there is Edmunds unprepossessing ranking (49) to consider. Until Tuesday, no unseeded man had reached a major semi-final since Rainer Schuettler and Marin Safin, both at Wimbledon in 2008. A few wise old birds did see this coming – even if your correspondent was sadly not among them. The tennis seismograph picked up advance tremors three weeks ago, when Edmund beat Hyeon Chung in the second round of Brisbane. Now that Chung has ejected Novak Djokovic from Melbourne Park, that win looks like the proverbial canary in the coalmine. He's done it! What a moment for @kyle8edmund - look at what it means! ����#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/RqmA6f7ChT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Edmund also gave Dimitrov a scare in Brisbane, before a rolled ankle scuppered his chances. On Rod Laver Arena, though, we expected Dimitrov’s extra experience and proven pedigree to count. We expected Edmund’s glorious campaign to end in plucky disappointment. We expected anything, in other words, but what we got. Edmund bossed this match from the opening game – in which he secured the first of his five breaks of serve – to that fateful Hawk-Eye call after 2hr 49mins. Judging by his sang-froid, he could have been playing in the David Lloyd Centre in Hull, where he hit his first thunderous forehands at the age of ten. Dimitrov, by contrast, was hesitant and shaky. His second serve has been a problem area since the start of the season, to the point where many coaches and commentators are convinced that he has the yips. On Tuesday he kept his double-fault count down to seven, a respectable total when compared to the 15 he delivered against Andrey Rublev in the third round. But even the ones he landed were short and loopy, kicking up high into Edmund’s chest and giving him time to line up that whipcrack forehand. Edmund signs a camera after reaching the semi-finals Credit: Getty Images The final point of Edmund’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory was typical. After a strong first serve, he struck five successive heavy forehands, each one laden with more spin than the last. Dimitrov – who could be the quickest player on the tour – shuttled left and right in a desperate attempt to bunt them back. The whole match acted as a kind of physics lesson, demonstrating that when athletic mobility (Dimitrov) meets weight of shot (Edmund), the ball will always move faster than the man. “I am loving it right now,” said Edmund afterwards, in a press conference that defied his reputation for bashfulness. “It was my first time on one of the biggest courts in the world. To beat a player of Grigor’s quality – these are great feelings. In the key moments I stepped up well and was brave, really went for my shots, and they came good.” Here is the difference between today's Edmund and last year’s model. The nearly man who lost tight matches against everyone from Nadal to Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka is gone. Edmund’s perfect record in the new season is only interrupted by that sprained ankle he picked up in Brisbane. Perhaps we should call him Edmund Ironside now, after the hard-bitten 11th-Century king. “Always the big challenge is dealing with adversity,” said Tim Henman, who also remained ice-cool in his position in the first row of seats. “If you look at Kyle’s deciding-set record last year it was fairly poor for a player of his ability.” (This is an understatement: in 2017, Edmund lost 18 of 25 matches that went the distance.) “But the way he finished that match off was really impressive, and it will give him so much confidence. A big ace up the middle on 30-all, then a great rally to close. He’s fit and he’s strong and he’s playing with maturity. Against Cilic on Thursday, he definitely has a shot.” 7:04AM Edmund chasing down Murray The 23-year-old's win is likely to move him up to 26 in the new world rankings next Monday. But wait, if Edmund reaches the final in Melbourne he could unseat Andy Murray as Britain's No 1. Edmund soaks up the adultion on Rod Laver Arena Credit: Reuters Huge @kyle8edmund!!belief in himself growing and small change to serve in off season making huge difference!Well done to @markhilts too ��— jamie delgado (@DelgadoJamie) January 23, 2018 7:01AM Stats of the match Not much between both men but Edmund winning more points on his first serve and sending down six more aces than Dimitrov. Edmund also made 16 forehand winners compared to Dimitrov's 10. Credit: Australian Open 6:49AM Edmund top of the charts The Briton's forehand has been his biggest weapon this tournament and has put his rivals in the shade. Forehand winners 2018 #AusOpen - Men Edmund 127 Dimitrov 93 Seppi 90 Cilc 88— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) January 23, 2018 6:47AM Nadal or Cilic up next for Kyle So Edmund is the first player in the men's draw through to the last four. He's also the first Briton other than Andy Murray since Tim Henman in 2004 to reach the semi-finals of a major. Nice that Tim was on court to watch the 23-year-old book his spot. Edmund will now face the winner of tonight's clash between Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic which is scheduled for 8am UK time. Wow! @kyle8edmund— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) January 23, 2018 6:44AM Semi-finalist Edmund speaks "It's an amazing feeling, I'm very happy. It was a hard match, I've had lots of matches so far. I tried to enjoy the moment. It's my first match on this court and it was special. "He's (Dimitrov) played hard matches, I knew it was going to be tough. I had a dip in the second set, but I broke him at the end of the third had a blip in the fourth and at the end prayed that last ball was out." Edmund is told by Jim Courier he's the sixth British male to reach a major semi-final in the open era - what does it mean to join the illustrious club? "It's great. You don't think of those things when you're playing. But I'm sure it's going to be something I'm going to be proud of. It's very pleasing. Of course I want to keep going!" Edmund is asked what it's like to be centre of attention from the British press... "Yeah, I know what it's like to be Andy Murray now for the last seven or eight years! "It's probably the first time I've done well on my own, so there's more attention, but you try to take it in your stride and try to embrace it as much as possible. It's a good problem to have. The more I keep winning, the better." "[Now] I know what it feels like to be Andy Murray for the last eight years." -@kyle8edmund ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/uqRb1ggwyu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 6:38AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 Edmund (*next server) Dimitrov slices short during the opening point, it throws Edmund momentarily and the Briton strikes long. The two engage in some slicing during the next rally but this time it's Dimitrov who can't control his forehand. Nervous times for Edmund as a double fault gifts Dimitrov a 15-30 advantage. But he's not the only man struggling for rhythm as Dimitrov strikes long again. An ace down the middle brings up match point. How are your nerves now, Kyle? The pair engage in a lengthy rally and Dimitrov over-eggs another reply. The ball is called out. Was that out? It looked out. The Bulgarian challenges it but Hawk-Eye confirms what we suspected. Edmund books place in first ever major semi-final! That's also his first win over a top five player. GAME, SET AND MATCH: EDMUND BEATS DIMITROV TO REACH SEMI-FINALS. 6:32AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-5 Edmund* (*next server) Both men have won 114 points a pop at the start of this game and this contest could yet go either way. Edmund will have something to say about that and does at the start of this game, bending a forehand winner past the net-rushing Dimitrov to set himself up nicely. Some deep hitting draws an error from Dimitrov who is sent scampering down another ball into the corner. Dimitrov sends down a beautiful backhand which looks to land on the line, Edmund challenges. It's out, it's out, Edmund has two break points. He can't convert the first but does on the next as Dimitrov tightens up and pushes into the net. Wow. Edmund will come out SERVING FOR THE MATCH!! EDMUND BREAKS. This Edmund vs Dimitrov has everything you want for a men’s quarterfinals. Standard is so high. Come On Kyle.— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) January 23, 2018 6:27AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Edmund (*next server) Edmund fires down his first ace of this set but then backs it up with an unwanted first double fault of the fourth set. The Briton draws one of the biggest rounds of applause for the set when he shows great reactions to catch one return from a missed serve and crucially at 30-all is happy to see a forehand from Dimitrov land long. Edmund steers out the game with a deep second serve. 6:22AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Edmund* (*next server) Dimitrov challenges one exceptionally deep forehand from Edmund but he's out of luck as the Briton's groundstroke couldn't have been any better. Another rasping winner down his favoured wing from Edmund turns the heat back on Dimitrov's serve at 15-30. Dimitrov draws a long service return from his rival to save the danger for now. But wait, the Bulgarian over-strikes during the next point and then looks to his corner asking for inspiration. This time Dimitrov gets a first serve in which Edmund tamely puts into the middle. The Briton slaps his hip, he knows he missed a chance. Dimitrov takes advantage of the let off and sends down an ace for the game. 6:17AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Edmund (*next server) Nice play from Dimitrov as he drills a groundstroke back deep at the feet of Edmund who can't make the pick up. It's early pressure here at 0-30. Edmund puts Dimitrov back in his box, and on his back by pushing a volley into the corner which catches the Bulgarian out. Dimitrov gets one reply back but Edmund keeps the pressure on. The Briton slightly loses his head on the next point, sending one stroke long and gifting two break points to his rival. The pair engage in tentative play during the next rally but Edmund goes for broke first and it doesn't pay off as he strikes into the lines. DIMITROV BREAKS. Dimitrov digs in! He breaks back to get it on serve. This is tense. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DXOdoP0eXM— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 6:12AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 2-3 Edmund* (*next server) Boom. Edmund shows his intent early on in this game by injecting some pace into an outswinging forehand which draws applause from one avid watcher on Rod Laver in 'Come on Tim' himself Mr Henman. Edmund pumps his fist in anticipation as Dimitrov drills a forehand into the lines and then has a break point opening when Dimitrov dumps a reply into the net. Nervy times now as Dimitrov misses his first serve and then drags a forehand wide to hand the Briton an early break in this set. EDMUND BREAKS. 6:08AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Edmund (*next server) Edmund doesn't look like a man who is a set away from reaching a first ever semi-final at a major. He punches home a volley and maintains his solid first-service style as Dimitrov mulls over his options. Some fantastic deep striking and defensive work from Edmund keep the pressure on his opponent, forcing the Bulgarian to blink first. Dimitrov allows himself of a wry smile as Edmund closes out the game. Credit: AFP 6:04AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Edmund* (*next server) Dimitrov has shaken off the effects of dropping serve deep into that third set to hold to love. A solid recovery from the Bulgarian at the start of a vital fourth set. 6:02AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Edmund (*next server) Edmund lets rip with another forehand which is loaded with topspin to land flush on the line and draws gasps from the crowd on Rod Laver Arena. It's the Briton's biggest weapon. He uses it at game point, this time on the chase and we're level for the set. 5:58AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Edmund* (*next server) Edmund flashes and misses at a couple of deep forehands before getting on the board when Dimitrov over-eggs his own ground stroke. Edmund places his hands on his hips after slapping a backhand into the tramlines and watches on as Dimitrov whips a forehand winner into the deuce court for a comfortable hold. 5:52AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6 Edmund (*next server) Nervous opening from Edmund as Dimitrov turns aggressor before a rasping first serve from the Briton restores parity. Dimitrov is on the attack during the next rally, taking advantage again of Edmund's edginess but the Briton responds during the next point with an explosive forehand winner down the line. That would've helped settle him down. Edmund brings up set point when he darts onto a Dimitrov return that clips the tape. Edmund punches a volley into the advantage court and then sends down a solid first serve to take the third set. EDMUND WINS THIRD SET TO LEAD TWO SETS TO ONE How many sets away is @kyle8edmund from a Grand Slam semifinal? ☝️#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/SuGcb6r1vh— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 5:48AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-5 Edmund* (*next server) Edmund takes advantage of Dimitrov's first serve struggles by jumping on a second serve and dictating play in the rally. The Briton similarly dominants during the next one, catching Dimitrov with a forehand into the corner with the Bulgarian shifting his balance to the left. Dimitrov tentatively strikes long to hand Edmund two break points at 15-40. Edmund misses the first by dumping a serve into the middle. With two hours on the clock, Dimitrov hands in a double fault at the worst possible time and Edmund has a vital break this set. EDMUND BREAKS. Credit: Getty Images 5:43AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-4 Edmund (*next server) Great defence work from Edmund gets him out of a potential hole to blunt an aggressive Dimitrov who finally puts a drop shot into the lines. It moves Edmund to three game points and a strong first serve gets him over the line. 5:40AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-3 Edmund* (*next server) Dimitrov gives one service return short shrift en route to three game points. The clash of the pink men - in attire that is - remains level this set. 5:36AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 2-3 Edmund (*next server) Some solid serving bring up two game points for Edmund and third ace of this set and 10th overall allow him of a comfortable hold. 5:33AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 2-2 Edmund* (*next server) Edmund finds his range again with his forehand, pushing Dimitrov deep and working his way to the net to show soft hands with a deft drop shot for 15-30. Edmund mistimes a forehand during the next point but then flashes a superb service return past his rival to set up a first break point of the set. In the bright sunshine and afternoon heat of the day in Melbourne, Edmund tries to dictate play from the back of the court but Dimitrov is able to turn defence into attack when he seizes on a shorter reply from Edmund and he saves the break and rescues the game. 5:26AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 1-2 Edmund (*next server) Oooh er. Edmund pushes a drop shot into the net to open up on his next service game and is reeled back to 30-all when great athleticism and reactions from Dimitrov see the Bulgarian chase down an Edmund reply that deflected off the tape and appeared to land favourably for the Briton. Dimitrov wasn't having any of it, retrieving the short ball and sending back a drop shot which was out of Edmund's reach. The No 3 keeps the heat on by forcing deuce but Edmund shows great resolve to close it out with a looping forehand at an acute angle. He edges back in front this set. 5:21AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 1-1 Edmund* (*next server) Edmund missing quite a few groundstrokes at moment as Dimitrov tries to take control of the match. A serve down the T brings up a comfortable hold for the world No 3. 5:18AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 0-1 Edmund (*next server) Edmund doesn't let dropping that last set affect his concentration as he races to 30-0. Dimitrov gets a board on the board this set when Edmund puts too much on a forehand and reels the Briton in when another forehand lands in the tramlines. From a solid start and three unforced errors hand Dimitrov an early break. Thankfully Dimitrov can't get enough on a service return and Edmund breaths a sigh of relief. A second serve and solid first serve get Edmund over the line. Strap yourselves in. ��@GrigorDimitrov psychs himself up as he draws level in this quarterfinal. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/i3DhvlD2vJ— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 5:13AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3 Edmund* (*next server) Dimitrov looks well set at 30-0 before a deep forehand return from Edmund catches him out on the baseline. The Briton mixes it up during the next point. Switching from slicing, to explosive power, Edmund's heavy strokes finally wear Dimitrov down. Edmund misses a great chance to set up break point when he drifts a forehand into the tape and brings up a set point for the Bulgarian. He takes it when Edmund can't get enough on a first serve return. DIMITROV WINS SECOND SET. 5:10AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 5-3 Edmund (*next server) Edmund ensures he makes Dimitrov serve for the second set as the Briton smashes game point at the net. 5:06AM Dimitrov 4-6, 5-2 Edmund* (*next server) Edmund drinks water between games Edmund is down to one challenge after questioning a call that landed on the line right in front of him. He battles his way back to deuce. A double fault gives him a break back point. A big first serve from Dimitrov takes it back to deuce. "A crushingly mediocre set from these two quarter-finalists so far," says the always quotable John McEnroe. And that's it. Game to the Bulgarian and Edmund must serve to hang in the set. 5:01AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 4-2 Edmund (*next server) Edmund hangs on. Someone in the crowd shouts, “Looking good, Kyle.” 4:55AM Dimitrov 4-6, 4-1 Edmund* (*next server) Dimitrov holds comfortably. A real test for Edmund now. He needs to start holding his own serve without giving up so much energy. 4:52AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 3-1 Edmund (*next server) Edmund puts himself in a 0-30 hole but plays a nice shot cross court to bring things even, before finding himself out of position and down a break point. He shuts things down at the net and finishes things off with a smash to bring it to deuce. Odd point with both players pausing as if they heard something to make them stop. It's a battle out there but finally Edmund keeps the set alive by holding serve. You felt he needed that. 4:43AM Dimitrov 4-6, 3-0 Edmund Five points in a row there for Dimitrov - after dropping the first three and putting himself in trouble - and Edmund is down three games in the second set in rapid fashion. Edmund finds the line, but Dimitrov is finding form. The Bulgarian saves three break points to take a 3-0 lead in the second set. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/5dLQ2poYSv— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 4:39AM Dimitrov 4-6, 2-0 Edmund Edmund is making heavy weather of this. The players exchange groundstrokes at break-point but then the sound of the ball coming off Edmund's racquet's rim marks the end, and it flies long. That's a break gone. 4:35AM Dimitrov 4-6, 1-0 Edmund Dimitrov comes back at full tilt, winning the first game of the second set to love. 4:30AM Dimitrov 4-6 Edmund Dimitrov earns two break-back points putting Edmund in a tough spot. The Brit comes back with fearsome serve that Dimitrov cannot control. It looks hot down there. This might come down to who can better get through the temperature. Back to deuce and into a battle of groundstrokes before Dimitrov closes in on the net and hits a winner, earning another break point. Another unreturnable serve brings it back to deuce again. Edmund needs two goes at it, but he eventually closes out the set to earn the early lead. 4:21AM Dimitrov 4-5 Edmund Edmund goes long on break point and challenges but the replay shows the ball was just out. He takes the game on the next point with a decisive return, giving him a chance to serve for the set. He lets out an explosive raw. 4:17AM Dimitrov 4-4 Edmund Edmund gets him with the smash at the second attempt to close out a clinical game to 15. So far the two are dead even on points won.
Kyle Edmund blasts way into Australian Open semi-finals by ousting third seed Grigor Dimitrov
Kyle Edmund can never have endured a longer 20 seconds. When Grigor Dimitrov challenged the “out” call on his final slice backhand, Edmund looked up at the big screen and covered his mouth with his palm. Yet the Hawk-Eye ruling, like the result itself, was categorical. The ball was long, by a couple of inches. Dimitrov, the No. 3 seed and recent ATP Finals champion, was out of the Australian Open. And Great Britain had a new sporting hero. On Thursday, Edmund will play Marin Cilic for a place in the Melbourne final, after Rafael Nadal made a dramatic exit from the tournament last night. This was a heartbreaking moment for Nadal’s millions of fans, yet it can only have improved Edmund’s chances of becoming the most unexpected slam finalist since Martin Verkerk at the 2003 French Open. Hold on a minute, though. We are getting ahead of ourselves. Simply to reach the semi-finals is an incredible feat. Andy Murray, with no fewer than 21 appearances at this stage of majors, might have made it look easy. But many fine players have never gone so far, from Nick Kyrgios to David Goffin. And then there is Edmunds unprepossessing ranking (49) to consider. Until Tuesday, no unseeded man had reached a major semi-final since Rainer Schuettler and Marin Safin, both at Wimbledon in 2008. A few wise old birds did see this coming – even if your correspondent was sadly not among them. The tennis seismograph picked up advance tremors three weeks ago, when Edmund beat Hyeon Chung in the second round of Brisbane. Now that Chung has ejected Novak Djokovic from Melbourne Park, that win looks like the proverbial canary in the coalmine. He's done it! What a moment for @kyle8edmund - look at what it means! ����#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/RqmA6f7ChT— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 Edmund also gave Dimitrov a scare in Brisbane, before a rolled ankle scuppered his chances. On Rod Laver Arena, though, we expected Dimitrov’s extra experience and proven pedigree to count. We expected Edmund’s glorious campaign to end in plucky disappointment. We expected anything, in other words, but what we got. Edmund bossed this match from the opening game – in which he secured the first of his five breaks of serve – to that fateful Hawk-Eye call after 2hr 49mins. Judging by his sang-froid, he could have been playing in the David Lloyd Centre in Hull, where he hit his first thunderous forehands at the age of ten. Dimitrov, by contrast, was hesitant and shaky. His second serve has been a problem area since the start of the season, to the point where many coaches and commentators are convinced that he has the yips. On Tuesday he kept his double-fault count down to seven, a respectable total when compared to the 15 he delivered against Andrey Rublev in the third round. But even the ones he landed were short and loopy, kicking up high into Edmund’s chest and giving him time to line up that whipcrack forehand. Edmund signs a camera after reaching the semi-finals Credit: Getty Images The final point of Edmund’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory was typical. After a strong first serve, he struck five successive heavy forehands, each one laden with more spin than the last. Dimitrov – who could be the quickest player on the tour – shuttled left and right in a desperate attempt to bunt them back. The whole match acted as a kind of physics lesson, demonstrating that when athletic mobility (Dimitrov) meets weight of shot (Edmund), the ball will always move faster than the man. “I am loving it right now,” said Edmund afterwards, in a press conference that defied his reputation for bashfulness. “It was my first time on one of the biggest courts in the world. To beat a player of Grigor’s quality – these are great feelings. In the key moments I stepped up well and was brave, really went for my shots, and they came good.” Here is the difference between today's Edmund and last year’s model. The nearly man who lost tight matches against everyone from Nadal to Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka is gone. Edmund’s perfect record in the new season is only interrupted by that sprained ankle he picked up in Brisbane. Perhaps we should call him Edmund Ironside now, after the hard-bitten 11th-Century king. “Always the big challenge is dealing with adversity,” said Tim Henman, who also remained ice-cool in his position in the first row of seats. “If you look at Kyle’s deciding-set record last year it was fairly poor for a player of his ability.” (This is an understatement: in 2017, Edmund lost 18 of 25 matches that went the distance.) “But the way he finished that match off was really impressive, and it will give him so much confidence. A big ace up the middle on 30-all, then a great rally to close. He’s fit and he’s strong and he’s playing with maturity. Against Cilic on Thursday, he definitely has a shot.” 7:04AM Edmund chasing down Murray The 23-year-old's win is likely to move him up to 26 in the new world rankings next Monday. But wait, if Edmund reaches the final in Melbourne he could unseat Andy Murray as Britain's No 1. Edmund soaks up the adultion on Rod Laver Arena Credit: Reuters Huge @kyle8edmund!!belief in himself growing and small change to serve in off season making huge difference!Well done to @markhilts too ��— jamie delgado (@DelgadoJamie) January 23, 2018 7:01AM Stats of the match Not much between both men but Edmund winning more points on his first serve and sending down six more aces than Dimitrov. Edmund also made 16 forehand winners compared to Dimitrov's 10. Credit: Australian Open 6:49AM Edmund top of the charts The Briton's forehand has been his biggest weapon this tournament and has put his rivals in the shade. Forehand winners 2018 #AusOpen - Men Edmund 127 Dimitrov 93 Seppi 90 Cilc 88— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) January 23, 2018 6:47AM Nadal or Cilic up next for Kyle So Edmund is the first player in the men's draw through to the last four. He's also the first Briton other than Andy Murray since Tim Henman in 2004 to reach the semi-finals of a major. Nice that Tim was on court to watch the 23-year-old book his spot. Edmund will now face the winner of tonight's clash between Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic which is scheduled for 8am UK time. Wow! @kyle8edmund— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) January 23, 2018 6:44AM Semi-finalist Edmund speaks "It's an amazing feeling, I'm very happy. It was a hard match, I've had lots of matches so far. I tried to enjoy the moment. It's my first match on this court and it was special. "He's (Dimitrov) played hard matches, I knew it was going to be tough. I had a dip in the second set, but I broke him at the end of the third had a blip in the fourth and at the end prayed that last ball was out." Edmund is told by Jim Courier he's the sixth British male to reach a major semi-final in the open era - what does it mean to join the illustrious club? "It's great. You don't think of those things when you're playing. But I'm sure it's going to be something I'm going to be proud of. It's very pleasing. Of course I want to keep going!" Edmund is asked what it's like to be centre of attention from the British press... "Yeah, I know what it's like to be Andy Murray now for the last seven or eight years! "It's probably the first time I've done well on my own, so there's more attention, but you try to take it in your stride and try to embrace it as much as possible. It's a good problem to have. The more I keep winning, the better." "[Now] I know what it feels like to be Andy Murray for the last eight years." -@kyle8edmund ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/uqRb1ggwyu— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 6:38AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 Edmund (*next server) Dimitrov slices short during the opening point, it throws Edmund momentarily and the Briton strikes long. The two engage in some slicing during the next rally but this time it's Dimitrov who can't control his forehand. Nervous times for Edmund as a double fault gifts Dimitrov a 15-30 advantage. But he's not the only man struggling for rhythm as Dimitrov strikes long again. An ace down the middle brings up match point. How are your nerves now, Kyle? The pair engage in a lengthy rally and Dimitrov over-eggs another reply. The ball is called out. Was that out? It looked out. The Bulgarian challenges it but Hawk-Eye confirms what we suspected. Edmund books place in first ever major semi-final! That's also his first win over a top five player. GAME, SET AND MATCH: EDMUND BEATS DIMITROV TO REACH SEMI-FINALS. 6:32AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-5 Edmund* (*next server) Both men have won 114 points a pop at the start of this game and this contest could yet go either way. Edmund will have something to say about that and does at the start of this game, bending a forehand winner past the net-rushing Dimitrov to set himself up nicely. Some deep hitting draws an error from Dimitrov who is sent scampering down another ball into the corner. Dimitrov sends down a beautiful backhand which looks to land on the line, Edmund challenges. It's out, it's out, Edmund has two break points. He can't convert the first but does on the next as Dimitrov tightens up and pushes into the net. Wow. Edmund will come out SERVING FOR THE MATCH!! EDMUND BREAKS. This Edmund vs Dimitrov has everything you want for a men’s quarterfinals. Standard is so high. Come On Kyle.— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) January 23, 2018 6:27AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-4 Edmund (*next server) Edmund fires down his first ace of this set but then backs it up with an unwanted first double fault of the fourth set. The Briton draws one of the biggest rounds of applause for the set when he shows great reactions to catch one return from a missed serve and crucially at 30-all is happy to see a forehand from Dimitrov land long. Edmund steers out the game with a deep second serve. 6:22AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 4-3 Edmund* (*next server) Dimitrov challenges one exceptionally deep forehand from Edmund but he's out of luck as the Briton's groundstroke couldn't have been any better. Another rasping winner down his favoured wing from Edmund turns the heat back on Dimitrov's serve at 15-30. Dimitrov draws a long service return from his rival to save the danger for now. But wait, the Bulgarian over-strikes during the next point and then looks to his corner asking for inspiration. This time Dimitrov gets a first serve in which Edmund tamely puts into the middle. The Briton slaps his hip, he knows he missed a chance. Dimitrov takes advantage of the let off and sends down an ace for the game. 6:17AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 3-3 Edmund (*next server) Nice play from Dimitrov as he drills a groundstroke back deep at the feet of Edmund who can't make the pick up. It's early pressure here at 0-30. Edmund puts Dimitrov back in his box, and on his back by pushing a volley into the corner which catches the Bulgarian out. Dimitrov gets one reply back but Edmund keeps the pressure on. The Briton slightly loses his head on the next point, sending one stroke long and gifting two break points to his rival. The pair engage in tentative play during the next rally but Edmund goes for broke first and it doesn't pay off as he strikes into the lines. DIMITROV BREAKS. Dimitrov digs in! He breaks back to get it on serve. This is tense. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/DXOdoP0eXM— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 6:12AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 2-3 Edmund* (*next server) Boom. Edmund shows his intent early on in this game by injecting some pace into an outswinging forehand which draws applause from one avid watcher on Rod Laver in 'Come on Tim' himself Mr Henman. Edmund pumps his fist in anticipation as Dimitrov drills a forehand into the lines and then has a break point opening when Dimitrov dumps a reply into the net. Nervy times now as Dimitrov misses his first serve and then drags a forehand wide to hand the Briton an early break in this set. EDMUND BREAKS. 6:08AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 2-2 Edmund (*next server) Edmund doesn't look like a man who is a set away from reaching a first ever semi-final at a major. He punches home a volley and maintains his solid first-service style as Dimitrov mulls over his options. Some fantastic deep striking and defensive work from Edmund keep the pressure on his opponent, forcing the Bulgarian to blink first. Dimitrov allows himself of a wry smile as Edmund closes out the game. Credit: AFP 6:04AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 Edmund* (*next server) Dimitrov has shaken off the effects of dropping serve deep into that third set to hold to love. A solid recovery from the Bulgarian at the start of a vital fourth set. 6:02AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 Edmund (*next server) Edmund lets rip with another forehand which is loaded with topspin to land flush on the line and draws gasps from the crowd on Rod Laver Arena. It's the Briton's biggest weapon. He uses it at game point, this time on the chase and we're level for the set. 5:58AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 Edmund* (*next server) Edmund flashes and misses at a couple of deep forehands before getting on the board when Dimitrov over-eggs his own ground stroke. Edmund places his hands on his hips after slapping a backhand into the tramlines and watches on as Dimitrov whips a forehand winner into the deuce court for a comfortable hold. 5:52AM Dimitrov* 4-6, 6-3, 3-6 Edmund (*next server) Nervous opening from Edmund as Dimitrov turns aggressor before a rasping first serve from the Briton restores parity. Dimitrov is on the attack during the next rally, taking advantage again of Edmund's edginess but the Briton responds during the next point with an explosive forehand winner down the line. That would've helped settle him down. Edmund brings up set point when he darts onto a Dimitrov return that clips the tape. Edmund punches a volley into the advantage court and then sends down a solid first serve to take the third set. EDMUND WINS THIRD SET TO LEAD TWO SETS TO ONE How many sets away is @kyle8edmund from a Grand Slam semifinal? ☝️#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/SuGcb6r1vh— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018 5:48AM Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 3-5 Edmund* (*next server) Edmund takes advantage of Dimitrov's first serve struggles by jumping on a second serve and dictating play in the rally. The Briton similarly dominants during the next one, catching Dimitrov with a forehand into the corner with the Bulgarian shifting his balance to the left. Dimitrov tentatively strikes long to hand Edmund two break points at 15-40. Edmund misses the first by dumping a serve into the middle. With two hours on the clock, Dimitrov hands in a double fault at