Does Nadal's exit open way for Murray?
It was impossible not to feel for Rafael Nadal, both as he departed Rod Laver Arena, his dream of four successive majors dashed, and when he faced the media, fielding questions from international inquisitors, some of whom clearly could not feel his pain.
For the second year in a row, injury had forced the Spaniard out of the quarter finals of the Australian Open. Twelve months ago, he retired against Andy Murray with knee trouble. This time, the world number one's campaign effectively ended when he tweaked something in his upper left leg inside the first three games against David Ferrer.
As the Australia Day fireworks went off in the park next door, a disconsolate Nadal stretched and stared into space. The dream was lost in the glaze of his eyes.
The 24-year-old told the assembled media that he had been determined not to quit - he "hated" the feeling of retirement against Murray - but admitted afterwards that the contest was "almost over" before the players had really got into their stride.
It was 26 minutes before the players headed for their first sit-down, with the fateful second game containing 24 points, eight of them deuces. Nadal left the court shaking his head and returned with heavy strapping, shaking his head again. The look he gave his uncle Tony said everything. Ferrer was in the semi-finals.
Credit must go to the tournament's seventh seed. He played a fine match and finished the job impressively - not easy facing a friend in need - before saying in the on-court interview that it did not really feel like a victory.
There is no doubt that Nadal failed to compete at his usual level, hampered by the injury. Yet he refused to use it as an excuse afterwards, preferring to praise his countryman.
Nadal would not even confirm the nature of the injury. When pressed, he responded: "It seems I always have a problem when I lose. I don't want to have this image."
A dignified exit amid the crushing disappointment of missing what will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime chance of holding all four majors simultaneously.
For comfort, Nadal should recall events of a year ago, when, after his Melbourne misfortune, he produced a year of stunning success, winning the other three majors.
So where does this leave Murray, into the semis of a major for the fifth time?
He negotiated a tricky match with Alexandr Dolgopolov impressively and now has a surprise opponent in Ferrer. But does that make his passage to the final any easier?
The British number one would have expected to play Nadal, planned to play Nadal, perhaps even wanted to play Nadal. Now it is the all-round game, speed and cunning of the 28-year-old Ferrer.
The Spaniard's versatility must make him one of the hardest players out there to construct a game plan for. Indeed, Mats Wilander has told 5 live Sport that Ferrer could be a "nightmare" for Murray, making his tournament harder not easier.
If the number three seed plays the defending champion in the same manner as in New York last year, full of bold ambition, then we could have a most unexpected final
I am still going for Federer v Murray, though. What about you?