Djokovic sets up Wawrinka duel
New York - Defending champion Andy Murray crashed out of the US Open on
Thursday as Stanislas Wawrinka pulled a shocker to reach his first Grand Slam
semi-final, a match-up with world number one Novak Djokovic.
Swiss ninth seed Wawrinka stunned the Olympic and Wimbledon champion 6-4,
6-3, 6-2, to book a last-four date with Djokovic, the 2011 winner from Serbia
who ousted Russian 21st seed Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.
"I feel great. I'm really happy. It's amazing for me to be in my first
semi-final in a Slam," Wawrinka said. "To beat him in three sets the
way I was playing is good."
For only the second time in 146 Grand Slam matches, Murray failed to manage
even one break point.
"He played great. That was the hardest part about the match,"
"He just hit the ball extremely well. I didn't create a break point
chance. He served well. He hit a lot of lines and was going for big
Reaching his seventh US Open semi-final in a row in hopes of a fourth trip
in a row to the final, Djokovic lost his first set of the fortnight but reached
his 14th consecutive Grand Slam semi-final, the second-longest all-time streak.
"Definitely (I'm proud)," Djokovic said. "I've always been
trying to play my best tennis at a Grand Slam and every Grand Slam offers
Spanish second seed Rafael Nadal, a 12-time Grand Slam champion, and French
eighth seed Richard Gasquet, whose only prior last-four major run came in 2007
at Wimbledon, will meet in Saturday's other semi-final.
Wawrinka is only 2-12 versus Djokovic, including fourth-round losses at last
year's US Open and this year's Australian Open, but reigning Australian Open
champion Djokovic says he'll forget about his 11-match win streak over the
"It's going to be a very close match. I think there is no clear favourite,"
Djokovic said. "He showed why he deserves to be in the top 10 in the
world. I also feel good on the hardcourts and quite confident."
Wawrinka, deeper in a Slam for the first time than 17-time major champion
compatriot Roger Federer who bowed in the fourth round, used relentless
pressure to wear down Murray.
"The first set was not really easy. It was very windy," Wawrinka
said. "We were trying to find the game. To get that gave me a little bit
Wawrinka ignored the wind to fire 45 winners, three times Murray's total.
A grim-faced Murray set a record for hustling to the interview room,
arriving before Wawrinka could even leave the court, the 26-year-old Scotsman's
stoic visage a sign of his unhappiness.
"I would have liked to have played a little bit better," Murray
said. "It's a shame I had to play a bad match today."
Wawrinka, 28, lost in the quarter-finals of three prior Slams, including
this year at the French Open, but became only the third man from his nation to
reach a Slam final four, joining Federer and Marc Rosset.
Murray saved the first five break points of the match in the 10th game of
the first set, errant backhands by the Swiss standout helping his cause.
But Murray swatted a forehand long on Wawrinka's sixth break chance to drop
the set, smashing his racquet on the court a moment later in frustration.
"That 5-4 game in the first set was important game," Murray said.
"I had a chance to close it out. He had quite a few chances. I made a few
Murray screamed to himself "I'm serving like a donkey" in the
sixth game and was broken at love on the way to surrendering Wawrinka 12 points
in a row and eventually the set.
Murray screamed as he sat down after the set, staring at the court, talking
to himself and shaking his head as music blared from the stadium loudspeakers.
He double-faulted away a break to hand Wawrinka a 2-1 lead in the third set
and the Swiss ripped a forehand winner past Murray for a break and a 5-2 lead
to set up victory after two hours and 15 minutes.
Djokovic, 26, dominated the first two sets. Youzhny broke for the first time
for a 3-1 edge, but answered Djokovic's break in the seventh game with one of
his own in the eighth and held for the set, only to have Djokovic raise his
game and sweep the last six games.
"Conditions were not easy," Djokovic said. "Under windy
conditions he can be really tricky for anybody. I played pretty well except for
that third set."
US Open results on Thursday (x denotes seeded player):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Mikhail Youzhny (RUS x21) 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x9) bt Andy Murray (GBR x3) 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
Leander Paes/Radek Stepanek (IND/CZE x4) bt Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA/USA x1) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Alexander Peya/Bruno Soares (AUT/BRA x2) bt Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo (CRO/BRA x10) 7-5, 6-4
Ashley Barty/Casey Dellacqua (AUS/AUS x8) bt Sania Mirza/Zheng Jie (IND/CHN x 10) 6-2, 6-2
Serena Williams/Venus Williams (USA/USA) bt Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci (ITA/ITA x1) 6-3, 6-1