Melbourne: Rafael Nadal’s drive towards a 17th Grand Slam title came to a shuddering injury-induced halt on Tuesday on a day of Australian Open upsets that saw unseeded Kyle Edmund and Elise Mertens make the semi-finals
The World No 1 retired against Marin Cilic after a muscle in his upper right leg began troubling him in the fourth set on Rod Laver Arena, with the Spaniard wincing in pain and limping as he struggled to continue.
His 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 2-0 exit set up a last-four clash for the former US Open champion against Britain’s Edmund, who stunned third seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Mertens, who is yet to drop a set, was equally convincing in blasting past world number four Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to become the first Belgian to make the semis since Kim Clijsters in 2012.
She will play second-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who battled past veteran Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in three sets, for a place in Saturday’s final.
“Tough moments,” said the top seed, adding that it was too soon to say how bad the injury might be.