Nadal retires hurt, unseeded Edmund and Mertens advance

AFP
Rafael Nadal's bid for a 17th grand slam title came to a shuddering halt on a day of Australian Open upsets that saw unseeded Kyle Edmund and Elise Mertens make the semifinals.
AFP
AFP

Spain's Rafael Nadal receives medical attention during their men's singles quarterfinals match against Croatia's Marin Cilic at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Rafael Nadal called on tour organizers to do more to halt injuries to top players after being forced to pull out of his Australian Open quarterfinal on Tuesday.

The Spanish world No.1 retired with a muscle injury in his upper right leg while trailing 0-2 to former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the fifth set of a titanic quarterfinal struggle.

It is the second time he has been forced to pull out with injury in Melbourne after calling it quits in the third set of his 2010 quarterfinal against Andy Murray with a knee problem.

“Tough moments. Is not the first time an opportunity that is gone for me,” he told reporters. “I am a positive person, but today is an opportunity lost to be in the semifinals of a grand slam and fight for an important title for me.

“I was playing okay. I was playing a match that anything could happen: could win, could lose. He was playing good, too,” Nadal said. “But I was fighting for it. I was two sets to one up. Yeah, just have to accept, recover, go back home, stay with my people and keep going. That’s all.”

Nadal said his problem was not hip-related, more a muscle issue high up on his right leg. “I can’t tell you exactly the muscle. It’s high on the leg. Tomorrow we’re going to communicate what’s going on after a MRI scan,” he said.

Nadal said tour organizers had to do something about the growing number of injuries among players after the withdrawals of Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori before the tournament and Novak Djokovic struggling ahead of his exit on Monday.

“Somebody who is running the tour should think a little bit about what’s going on. Too many people are getting injured,” Nadal said. “I don’t know if they think a little bit about the health of the players. I don’t know if we keep playing on these very hard surfaces what’s going to happen in the future with our lives.”


Reuters

Kyle Edmund of Britain plays against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria at the Australian Open quarterfinals. Edmund advanced 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.  

Unseeded Kyle Edmund and Elise Mertens made it to the semifinals.

Croat Cilic, the sixth seed, said it was “sad” to win in such a way but added that “I played great tennis, very high level.”

“So I am extremely pleased with the performance.”

Cilic will be up 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 No. 4 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.

Edmund became only the fourth British man to reach the Australian Open semifinals in the post-1968 Open Era.

“It’s an amazing feeling. I’m very happy,” said the overwhelmed 23-year-old, ranked 49. “It was my first match on Rod Laver Arena and it’s very special.”

World No. 37 Mertens is on a hot streak of form, unbeaten in 10 matches after winning in Hobart this month. Svitolina blamed a hip injury for her ousting as she again failed to get to the last-four of a grand slam on her 22nd attempt. 


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