Andy Murray blown out of US Open by Stanislas Wawrinka
Defending champion in trouble for racket abuse after losing his cool in three-set defeat
ANDY MURRAY is out of the US Open after being blown off court by Stanislas Wawrinka. In a week when strong winds have made life difficult for players at the tournament, it was the power of the number nine seed that wrecked Murray's hopes of defending the title he won here at Flushing Meadows last year.
The 26-year-old Scot failed to earn a single break point in a 6-4 6-3 6-2 defeat but he did pick up a code violation for racket abuse. "It was a tough day for me," admitted Murray, who was beaten in only two hours and 15 minutes by his Swiss opponent.
Nonetheless the Wimbledon champion was magnanimous in defeat, saying of Wawrinka: "He just played great. He hit a lot of lines, was going for big shots, and he played too well."
As The Guardian's Kevin Mitchell writes this morning, Murray's honesty was welcome. "For someone who has gone into a deep funk after losing in the past it was a response that smacked of encouraging maturity."
Murray had been less sanguine on court, howling with rage and smashing his racket into the ground as he committed a series of unforced errors in the face of Wawrinka's aggressive approach. Not even the presence in the crowd of fellow Scot Sean Connery could inspire Murray as his service game began to crack under pressure.
Simon Barnes writes in The Times: "He [Murray] was unhappy because he was playing poorly, he was playing poorly because he was unhappy, and if no one knows where such a process starts, we have all seen where it finishes."
When it was all over and Murray's composure was restored he tempered his disappointment with an assessment of what he's achieved in the last 12 months. "Look, I can't complain," he said. "If someone told me before the US Open last year I would [be back] as the defending champion, having won Wimbledon and the Olympic gold, I would have taken that 100 per cent. So I'm disappointed, but the year as a whole has been a good one."
For the 28-year-old Wawrinka, who described his victory as "crazy", his reward for knocking out the defending champion is a semi-final clash with number one seed Novak Djokovic.
The Serbian dropped his first set of the tournament during his four-set defeat of Russian Mikhail Youzhny, but still reached his 14th consecutive Grand Slam semi-final without undue concern.
"It's going to be a very close match. I think there's not a clear favourite," Djokovic said of his semi-final clash with Wawrinka. "He showed today why he deserves to be [in the] top ten in the world."
As Lynn Zinser of the New York Times reports: "For most of his career, Wawrinka has been known as the other player from Switzerland, obscured by the shadow of his occasional doubles partner Roger Federer." No longer. ·