Flushing Meadows stunned as defending champion Andy Murray crashes out of US Open (From The Northern Echo)
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Flushing Meadows stunned as defending champion Andy Murray crashes out of US Open
9:57pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in Sport
ANDY Murray's US Open title defence came to an end in the quarter-finals with a straight-sets defeat by Stanislas Wawrinka.
The Scot usually manages to raise his game when he needs to, but that was certainly not the case on Thursday as he crashed out 6-4 6-3 6-2.
Wawrinka played an inspired match to hand Murray his worst grand slam defeat since losing to the Swiss in the third round in New York three years ago.
The statistics told the story of how outplayed Murray had been - the third seed not creating a single break point and winning just 54 per cent of points on his first serve.
Wawrinka moves through to a first grand slam semi-final, which is likely to be a rematch with Novak Djokovic, who he pushed to 12-10 in the fifth set at the Australian Open this year.
Murray had not been entirely convincing in his first four matches, while Wawrinka went into the clash full of confidence after knocking out Tomas Berdych.
The Swiss is back in the top ten for the first time in four years and playing the best tennis of his career.
Murray had won eight of their previous 13 matches, but Wawrinka is a player who has given him consistent trouble.
The Scot has started matches particularly nervously this tournament, but he looked a little more relaxed here in front of the watching Sir Sean Connery.
Wawrinka was the aggressor, though, his one-handed backhand working well, and he gave Murray a tough game before he eventually held for 2-2.
The Swiss had the embarrassment of beginning the seventh game with an air shot, but generally he was holding serve relatively comfortably.
And it was Wawrinka who had the first chance when Murray netted a forehand to give up a set point at 4-5.
He saved that one with a big serve but he was far from out of trouble.
Murray saved four more set points but on the six chance he hit a forehand long and earned a code violation for smashing his racket on the court.
It was the second successive match in which he had dropped the opening set, but Wawrinka is a much tougher customer than Denis Istomin.
The 28-year-old was in a new position of being the last Swiss player left in the tournament following Roger Federers demise, and he was relishing it.
Murray was in trouble again at the start of the second set as he let a 40-0 lead slip but he saved a break point with a second-serve ace.
It was slightly ironic given Wawrinka had been all over the Scots second serve, which was often below 80 miles per hour.
Murray has cut an unhappy figure on court most of the tournament and it was no different on Thursday, the defending champion searching desperately for his best form.
He has not served particularly well in any of his matches, and Wawrinka kept the pressure on.
Murray cracked again in the sixth game, three errors giving his opponent the chance to nail a backhand down the line and move to 4-2.
The British number one at least made Wawrinka serve out the set and the Swiss looked a little nervy, but he clinched it when the third seed put a return wide.
Murray has come back from two sets to love down seven times in his career, but this never looked like being an eighth.
Wawrinka had got better and better, allowing Murray very few free points on his serve and having an answer for everything off the ground.
The Scot was certainly not helping himself with some very poor errors, and it was more of the same in the third game of the third set as a double fault handed Wawrinka another break.
It really was crisis point for Murray, and try as hard as he might he just could not find the level of tennis he needed.
He made twice as many unforced errors as winners, and it was virtually curtains when Wawrinka drilled another forehand winner to break again for 5-2.
That left the ninth seed serving for the match, and a smash brought up a first match point, which he took when Murray netted a forehand after two hours and 15 minutes.
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