Marin Cilic has secured a spot in the semi-finals after his 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2, 2-0 (ret.) win over the current World No.1 Rafael Nadal. The big serving Croatian has now equalled his best performance at the Australian Open and will look to go one step further in his semi-final matchup.
Cilic had only once beaten Nadal and this win came nine years ago in the pairs first ever meeting. It seemed that the big serving Croatian had an almost impossible task taking on the current World No. 1, but Cilic was ready for the fight.
Both players looked solid on serve in the initial stages, but it was Nadal who got the first break in the match. This handed Nadal a 5-3 lead and the chance to serve for the all important first set. The Spaniard took advantage and closed the opening set out 6-3.
Nadal was relentless and looked to impose more pressure on the 6th seed getting another break at 2-2 in the second set. But Cilic fought hard and responded in a big way, breaking back instantly. At 4-3 Cilic was able to break the World No.1’s serve for a second consecutive time before capturing the second set 6-3.
Every game seemed to go to deuce with the pair going blow for blow. Neither player was broken in the third set, so a tiebreak was required to settle this set. The Spaniard showed why he is touted as one of the best players in the world and took the breaker in stunning fashion, 7-5.
In the fourth set, the Croatian caught fire and raced to a 4-1 lead. During the change of ends, Nadal received treatment on his right quad. The former Australian Open champion was clearly in pain as he struggled in the late stages of the set. Cilic was able to exploit the injured Nadal and as he levelled the match up at 2 sets a piece.
Nadal was clearly struggling and was forced to retire with a hip injury at 0-2 down in the fifth and final set.
Cilic will now face Kyle Edmund in the semi-finals. This match presents a huge opportunity for both players to advance to their first ever Australian Open final.