The men’s singles in the Australian Open seem to be following something of a Grand Slam pattern, as Roger Federer is once again seeing his way paved to the victory.
He no longer has to contemplate the possibility of a final against world number one Rafael Nadal.
Not quite so fast, however, as Nadal was playing Marin Cilic in a quarterfinal match where Nadal was forced into abandoning the match due to injury in the fifth set.
It was a five-setter and had all the earmarks of a classic, such as the one Nick Kyrgios staged against Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round, where Kyrgios lost, despite winning six games in each of the four sets played.
For Nadal, he had saved five break points against his serve in the final game played, but when Cilic, the world number six, finally broke through, Nadal shook hands with the umpire and his opponent, packed his gear, and left.
The final score was 3 – 6, 6 – 3, 6 – 7, 6 – 2, 2 – 0, retired.
Cilic now gets the chance to play Kyle Edmund, the number 49 in the world, who sent Grigor Dimitrov off after Dimitrov possibly used all his energy on Kyrgios.
Nadal, despite missing an extended period of time in the past, including a period in 2016 when it seemed as though he might not be able to return to competitive professional tennis, has not retired from a Grand Slam match save for the time he had to forfeit to Andy Murray in 2010.
That time was also during the Australian Open.
This go, it was his upper leg and right hip that seemed to be causing him difficulty. When he missed so much action in 2016, it was his left wrist that created huge issues for him.
He needed a medical time out on Tuesday night against Cilic, when he went down four games to one in the fourth set. He had an obvious limp when he returned and his retirement meant that Cilic has just his second career victory over Nadal. Cilic won the first time the two played in 2009.