Wawrinka stops Murray in his tracks
Originally published on: 06/09/10 05:40
Andy Murray exited the US Open in dramatic fashion, falling to a shock defeat at the hands of Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round.
The 2008 finalist slumped to a 6-7(3) 7-6(4) 6-3 6-3 defeat after a match punctuated by moments of sublime and ridiculous tennis, injuries for both men and constant shifts in momentum before the Swiss No.25 seed wrestled the initiative from the Scot in the closing stages.
“He played better than me,” conceded Murray. “There’s not a whole lot more to it. He had a chance to win the first set – didn’t take it. I had a chance to win the second set – didn’t take it. I just struggled from then on.
“I was disappointed that I was struggling physically,” he added after appearing to turn to his team during the third and fourth sets to tell them he was in bad shape. “I tried to find a way to come back. Didn’t quite do it.”
Wawrinka, who had come off second best when the pair met in a memorable fourth-round encounter at last year’s Wimbledon, was expected to present few problems to Murray given the form the world No.4 had found on his way to New York.
But despite needing treatment to both thighs and at one stage looking set to retire from the match, the Swiss stayed the course during the four-hour encounter.
Murray also received treatment to his left thigh and struggled with his movement from the third set, a situation that made the containment of Wawrinka’s blistering attacking verve an arduous task.
Wawrinka had led the first set 5-2 before Murray went on a confidence-boosting run, winning seven of the next eight games as well as the first set tie-break to put himself in what seemed a commanding position.
But Wawrinka broke back in game five, and again with Murray serving for the set at 5-3, eventually forcing a second tiebreak. While Murray berated himself for letting the set slip away, the Swiss ran away with the breaker to level the match.
Clearly rattled, Murray slipped 4-1 behind in the third before calling the trainer to treat his thigh. Moments later, Wawrinka appeared to cramp mid-game, requiring an immediate medical time-out.
But while Murray’s treatment made little visible difference to his hampered movement, Wawrinka appeared rejuvenated on his return and continued with the free-flowing tennis that had the increasingly sluggish Murray chasing shadows at times.
Wawrinka broke once more at the start of the fourth set as Murray retreated into the back court, and although he handed Murray the break back in the next game, a sumptuous drop shot in game five handed the No.25 seed the initiative once more.
With Murray barely moving between points, the Swiss wrapped up victory with a third break, sealing the match when a Murray forehand drifted long.
“I think all my game was pretty good, it was one of my best matches for sure,” said Wawrinka, who plays American Sam Querrey in round four. “I was very aggressive. I was doing everything really good so I’m very happy.
“I think at the end of the first set I was playing a little bit too defensive. That’s what I started to change in the second and third and fourth sets, to stay aggressive, even if he’s coming, even if he’s putting a lot of pressure.
“But I have the feeling he was a little bit injured, he was not feeling okay, so I was trying to stay aggressive and to make him run a lot. I think I did pretty well.”