The world No. 1 walked off the court while trailing 2-0 in the fifth and final set to gift the Croatian a spot in the semifinals. Nadal had won the first set 6-3 before Cilic came back to take the second by the same scoreline. It was during the third set, which he won in a tiebreak, that Nadal said he felt a pain in his thigh. Cilic won the fourth set 6-2 before the Spaniard called it quits.
And the 16-time Grand Slam champion found the result tough to take.
“Tough moments — not (for) the first time here,” Nadal said.
“I’m a positive person, but today is an opportunity lost to be in a semifinal for a Grand Slam and fight for an important title for me.
“It’s really tough to accept.”
The 31-year-old said he would have medical scans on Wednesday to determine the exact location and extent of the injury, which he could only describe as being high on his right leg but not in the hip.
“Unbelievable performance from both of us and really unfortunate for Rafa,” Cilic said.
“He’s such an unbelievable competitor. He always gives his best, it’s very unfortunate for him to finish this way.”
Cilic now faces surprise package Kyle Edmund in the last four, and of his next opponent he said: “He had an amazing run and a great match today. I have to keep going with my own game. Kyle is also a big hitter so I have to take things into my own hands and deal with my own court in the best way possible.”