Marin Cilic offered sympathy to Rafael Nadal after the world number one was forced to retire from their absorbing quarter-final at the Australian Open.
Nadal's hopes of reaching the last four were dashed by an apparent injury to his upper right leg, which prompted the Spaniard to call for a medical timeout in the fourth set.
Sixth seed Cilic duly levelled the match and a limping Nadal, whose movement was significantly compromised, decided he could not continue after falling 2-0 down in the decider.
While there was much to admire in Cilic's performance on Rod Laver Arena, most notably a barrage of stinging forehands, the Croatian acknowledged his opponent's rotten luck.
"[It was an] unbelievable performance from both of us and really unfortunate for Rafa," said Cilic in an on-court interview.
"He's an unbelievable competitor, always gives his best and it's very unfortunate for him to finish this way."
"Really unfortunate for Rafa. He is an unbelievable competitor. Always gives his best and it's very unfortunate for him to finish this way. "— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2018
- @Cilic_Marin will play @Kyle8Edmund in the SF. Kudos to the on a superb performance nonetheless. #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/rMFIW9Wl4a
Cilic remained wary of a fightback even when Nadal was limping heavily at the start of the fifth set.
"When you're wounded, sometimes you are a little bit looser, so I was really paying attention to these first couple of games [in set five], just trying to keep my intensity up," he explained.
"It was absolutely important for me to keep that intensity up and continue with my own game, not looking across the net.
"As the match went further on, I was hitting more winners, playing better and better."
Surprise package Kyle Edmund now stands between Cilic and a third grand slam final appearance.
"He's had an amazing run in this tournament. Definitely big congratulations to him," said the 2014 US Open champion.
"For me, I have to keep going with my own game. Kyle is also a big hitter, great serve, great forehand, so I have to take things in my own hands and try to deal with my own [side of the] court in the best way possible."
24 de febrero 2018
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|Dyche dismayed by decisions before Gabbiadini goal|
|Russell´s redemption comes as Scotland seal rare England win|
|Wagner impressed with Huddersfield´s commitment after vital win|
|No place like home for Schmidt as Ireland leave it late to sink Wales|
|Liverpool win had everything – Klopp enthuses over West Ham´s Anfield rout|
|Khachanov sets up Pouille final after Berdych upset|
|Dunk equals record for own goals in a single Premier League season|
|Chiefs return to winning ways in thriller|
|Real Madrid 4 Alaves 0: Ronaldo at the double as ´BBC´ delight|
|Burnley 1 Southampton 1: Gabbiadini grabs late leveller|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 4 Swansea City 1: Two-goal Murray helps end Swans´ unbeaten run|
|Bournemouth 2 Newcastle United 2: Hosts in thrilling fightback after Gayle double|
|West Brom 1 Huddersfield Town 2: Van La Parra and Mounie seal vital win|
|Liverpool 4 West Ham 1: Salah nets again as Reds climb to second|
|Svitolina retains Dubai crown as Kasatkina runs out of steam|
|Ill Neymar included in PSG squad for Le Classique|
|Bayern Munich 0 Hertha Berlin 0: Lewandowski´s run ends as leaders are held at home|
|Ireland see off Wales in Dublin thriller to stay perfect|
|Gattuso surprised by AC Milan´s growth since taking over|
|Lambert defends ´best goalkeeper in Britain´ Butland after own goal error|
|Stokes expected to face Black Caps|
|Mkhitaryan, Ozil potential excites Mertesacker|
|A-League Review: Perth Glory in dramatic win, Melbourne Victory end losing streak|
|Leicester City 1 Stoke City 1: Butland howler costs Potters|
|Matic insists Man Utd can still do ´big things´|
|Fisher´s birdie streak secures share of Qatar Masters lead|
|Chinese Super League transfer window makes Simeone ´uncomfortable´|
|Ingolstadt score bizarre tap-in after Duisburg goalkeeper goes AWOL|
|Allegri cautious over Dybala fitness despite Higuain injury|
|Napoli´s Zielinski better than De Bruyne, claims Boniek|
|Seven-try Crusaders beat Chiefs, Waratahs and Brumbies win|
|Mourinho predicts ´amazing´ period for Manchester United|
|Mears expects ´good England win´ at Murrayfield|
|Barcelona midfielder Rafinha hoping to seal permanent Inter move|
|EFL Cup final: Where do Aguero and Aubameyang rank among Europe´s elite?|
|Klaasen and Mulder get Proteas Test call to face Australia|
|Settled Salah demands Champions League qualification for Liverpool|
|England not polished article - Shaw|
|Dembele staying focused after ´genius´ praise from Pochettino|
|Spain survive scare, USA cruise in World Cup qualifying|
|Shapovalov moves into Delray Beach Open semis|
|Davis, Jokic star with huge performances|
|Alli doesn´t dive, says Hodgson|
|Timberwolves star Butler suffers knee injury|
|Penguins acquire Brassard in three-team trade|
|Verdasco ends Thiem´s Rio Open title defence, Monfils exits|
|Salah has world´s best left foot? Don´t forget Messi – Klopp|
|Pochettino: Vertonghen one of Europe´s best defenders|
|He hasn´t raised the bar – Wenger plays down Guardiola success|
|Woods stays solid as List, Lovemark lead|
|Cake and victory for birthday boy Pouille|
|Klopp ´really proud´ of Firmino after Holgate case dropped|
|Munster upset Warriors as Leinster crush Southern Kings|
23 de febrero 2018
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|Warriors fall to impressive Wolves, Saints stay perfect|
|Conte: Chelsea´s winning mentality can´t be questioned|
|Benching Willian was a fantastic decision, boasts Chelsea boss Conte|
|Juventus critics don´t know Tottenham, says Pjanic|
|Hull City 1 Sheffield United 0: Dicko blunts Blades´ promotion chase after fan protest|
|Bastareaud stars as France get off the mark against Italy|
|Jaguars reward Marrone & Coughlin with two-year extensions|
|Lukaku tipped for ´big things´ by United team-mate Matic|
|Kasatkina saves three match points to stun Muguruza|